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General lessons learned from evaluations of MCH/FP projects in Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia.
New York, New York, UNFPA, 1984 Dec. iv, 41 p.4 maternal-child health/family planning (MCH/FP) projects were evaluated by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) in the Southern Africa Region between 1981-1984. The projects were in Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. An overriding finding at the time of the Evaluation Missions was the acceptance of family planning (child spacing) by all 4 governments, when at the onset of the projects, family planning was either not included in the project documents or was included only as a minor contributant to the MCH programs. The intervention by UNFPA was very important for the acceptance and promotion of family planning activities by the governments. The Evaluation Missions concluded that there were 3 primary reasons for the successful intervention: UNFPA has a broad mandate to provide assistance in MCH and FP, a commitment to development projects in line with the governments' priorities, and the ability to fund projects very quickly, facilitating project implementation. Each of the 4 projects is assessed in terms of population policy changes, MCH/FP program strategy and serive delivery, organization of the MCH/Fp unit, health education, training, evaluation and research systems, and administration and management. Essential factors affecting the project are outlined and recommendations made. The last section discusses general lessons derived from the MCH/FP projects evaluated. 5 areas are identified where similar problems exist to varying degrees in all the projects evaluated. These are: training of medical personnel in FP (the main MCH/FP service provider in these projects was the nurse/midwife); supervision of personnel and the supply and distribution of contraceptives; research and evaluation, especially regarding the sociocultural setting of target populations and the inadequacy of existing service statistics and other sources of data; project monitoring (technical and financial) and finally project execution by the World Health Organization (WHO). Specifically in regard to the recruitment of experts, the provision of supplies and equipment, and the provision of funds for local costs, WHO execution has been deficient.