Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


The multi-sectoral nature of urban health is a particular challenge, which urban family planning in sub-Saharan Africa illustrates well. Rapid urbanisation, mainly due to natural population increase in cities rather than rural–urban migration, coincides with a large unmet urban need for contraception, especially in informal settlements. These two phenomena mean urban family planning merits more attention. To what extent are the family planning and urban development sectors working together on this? Policy document analysis and stakeholder interviews from both the family planning and urban development sectors, across eight sub-Saharan African countries, show how cross-sectoral barriers can stymie efforts but also identify some points of connection which can be built upon. Differing historical, political, and policy landscapes means that entry points to promote urban family planning have to be tailored to the context. Such entry points can include infant and child health, female education and employment, and urban poverty reduction. Successful cross-sectoral advocacy for urban family planning requires not just solid evidence, but also internal consensus and external advocacy: FP actors must consensually frame the issue per local preoccupations, and then communicate the resulting key messages in concerted and targeted fashion. More broadly, success also requires that the environment be made conducive to cross-sectoral action, for example through clear requirements in the planning processes’ guidelines, structures with focal persons across sectors, and accountability for stakeholders who must make cross-sectoral action a reality.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Urban Health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.