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Report of the Regional Information, Education and Communication Conference, Coconut Grove, Florida, December 6-10, 1987.
New York, New York, IPPF, WHR, 1988. , 36 p.The purpose of the Regional Information, Education, and Communications Conference, held in Florida in December 1987, was to examine new ideas in information, education, and communication (IEC) with regard to reaching 3 general audiences -- adolescents, the family planning consumer, and the public-at-large -- and to explore the application of these ideas at the family planning association level. An abridged version of the discussions is included in these proceedings. In the session devoted to using the life planning methodology to reach adolescents, several countries gave presentations on their adolescent programs. Grenada, Mexico, Guatemala, Suriname, Chile, and Panama all have special programs for adolescents. The programs include a wide range of medical, educational, and recreational activities. The objective of the session addressing consumer marketing techniques in the family planning field was to encourage family planning organizations to use the consumer marketing approach of matching and promoting their services in relation to consumer needs and preferences. Conference participants were divided into 4 working groups to discuss consumer marketing of clinics. Each group focused on 4 questions: Why are clinics underutilized; what can be done to improve clinic services to that they lend themselves to better marketing; what ideas can be suggested for more effective marketing and promotion of clinic services; and what assistance, if any, should the regional office provide in helping family planning associations embark on clinic marketing programs. The working groups concluded that the principal reasons clinics are underutilized are poor geographical location, inadequate scheduling of visiting hours, and insufficient public information on clinics and the services they provide. The working groups suggested several measures that family planning associations could take to increase utilization of clinic services: offer a diversity of services at low prices; commercialize promotional materials; attend to the comfort of patients and provide incentive to "spread the word;" and determine the problems of each clinic and design a plan on how to offer quality services in an organized manner. The last session of the conference dealt with the importance of public information programs for the family planning associations in creating a positive public image and improving relations with governments.