The Road to Equity in Family Planning: Incorporating the Social Determinants of Health

Graphic of seven people waiting outside of a bus

Family planning (FP) includes the conditions that allow individuals, couples, and families to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. However, the ability of all people to do so remains constrained by a range of social and structural factors. These factors include social determinants of health, or the conditions that affect our individual and collective ability to reach our full potential for health and well-being.[1] They significantly impact people’s health, well-being, and quality of life, so social and behavior change (SBC) practitioners, governments, and donors who set the agenda for FP and reproductive health (RH) investments must recognize the significance of these determinants.

Breakthrough ACTION has focused efforts in recent years on developing a tool and synthesized evidence on how SBC program implementers and researchers may contribute to addressing equity more intentionally. The project convened SBC practitioners, governments, donors, advocates, and activists through a webinar series to make the case for explicitly considering equity and social determinants of health in the funding, design, implementation, and evaluation of SBC programming addressing FP/RH and related health and social issues.

The conversations unpacked the intersectionality inherent in social determinants considering how power dynamics, oppression, and privilege are experienced by individuals and groups across these overlapping determinants. Social determinants give rise to disparities in access to and use of FP/RH information, services, and products and subsequent health outcomes. This technical brief highlights some of the key learnings and recommendations for shaping investments and SBC programming that directly address inequities and social determinants building on the webinar series and convenings to date.

[1] Healthy People 2030, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (n.d.). Social determinants of health. https://health.gov/healthypeople/ objectives-and-data/social-determinants-health

Recorded Webinars

Why Do We Need to Elevate the S in SBC to Improve FP/RH Outcomes?

This webinar made a case for explicitly considering and addressing equity and social determinants of health in social and behavior change programming for family planning and reproductive health.

How Can SBC Programming Address Equity and Social Determinants of Health?

This webinar focused on how social and behavior change programming is well suited to addressing equity and social determinants of health in family planning/reproductive health.

How Can Incorporating Social Accountability Into SBC Improve Equity?

This webinar focused on social accountability as a critical process that can be further leveraged across social and behavior change programming to address equity and social determinants of health to shape and influence family planning and reproductive health outcomes.