Family Planning Lessons and Challenges: Making programs work

 Information gathered from a new survey and from a review of family planning (FP) research and program findings has revealed ten keys to FP program success. 1) Programs succeed because they are fulfilling personal needs (most people want to plan their families).  2) Success is tied to maximizing access by overcoming geographic, social, economic, informational, psychological, and administrative barriers.  3) Successful programs offer a choice of contraceptive methods.  4) Success increases as quality of care increases in a climate of respect for the client.  5) Communication campaigns (both media and interpersonal) are used by successful programs to increase awareness of options and help people make informed choices.  6) Motivated, well-trained providers deliver services better and, thus, improve quality of care and client satisfaction.  7) The leadership of successful programs is strong and stable and provides strategic management, defines goals, attracts resources, builds support, overcomes obstacles, and adapts to change.  8)  Performance analysis improves programs.  9) Political commitment gives FP programs high priority, assures adequate resources, and confirms that FP is the norm.   10) Well-funded FP programs accomplish more and accomplish it better; the level of funding determines the extent of coverage, the number of service delivery approaches, and the number of methods available.  The challenges which FP programs must meet and opportunities they must take are 1) providing for unmet need as more people want FP and the reproductive age population grows larger, 2) providing youth with new services delivered with new attitudes through new policies and approaches, 3) offering broader reproductive health services, and 4) finding adequate funding.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,Center for Communication Programs,Population Information Program