The efficiency of a supply chain depends largely on accurate forecasts of contraceptive use, which inform estimates of quantities and types of contraceptives to be procured. While forecasts will always differ somewhat from actual contraceptive use, more accurate forecasts can help ensure programs order enough supplies to serve their clients, ensure contraceptive choice, and avoid stockouts, but not so many that supplies--and the money spent on them--go to waste.

Several sources of information can inform a contraceptive forecast:

  • Historical consumption data. Looking at the quantities of particular contraceptive methods provided to clients over a period of time can guide a program's understanding of future needs. However, it is important to be mindful of the limitations of historical data, which do not account for demographic, policy, or programmatic shifts--or availability of particular methods--that might affect demand.
  • Historical service data. This sheds light on the number of new clients and returning clients using each contraceptive method (or brand.)
  • Population data. Information from population surveys is often most useful for new programs that lack historical data. By informing assumptions about growth of demand, population data can help these projects forecast demand for contraceptives several years into the future.

This section of the Toolkit provides a number of forecasting guides, software, and other tools programs can use to project their contraceptive needs. Do you have a comment about this section of the Toolkit or an additional resource to suggest? Please fill out our feedback form!