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FRONT LINES. 1989 Dec; 6, 13.Projects supported by the Directorate for Population (S&T/POP) of the U.S. Agency for International Development and aimed at increasing for-profit private sector involvement in providing family planning services and products are described. Making products commercially available through social-marketing partnerships with the commercial sector, USAID has saved $1.1 million in commodity costs from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Peru. Active private sector involvement benefits companies, consumers, and donors through increased corporate profits, healthier employees, improved consumer access at lower cost, and the possibility of sustained family planning programs. Moreover, private, for-profit companies will be able to meet service demands over the next 20 years where traditional government and donor agency sources would fail. Using employee surveys and cost-benefit analyses to demonstrate expected financial and health benefits for businesses and work forces, S&T/POP's Technical Information on Population for the Private Sector (TIPPS) project encourages private companies in developing countries to invest in family planning and maternal/child health care for their employees. 36 companies in 9 countries have responded thus far, which examples provided from Peru and Zimbabwe. The Enterprise program's objectives are also to increase the involvement of for-profit companies in delivering family planning services, and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of private volunteer organizations in providing services. Projects have been started with mines, factories, banks, insurance companies, and parastatals in 27 countries, with examples cited from Ghana and Indonesia. Finally, the Social Marketing for Change project (SOMARC) builds demand and distributes low-cost contraceptives through commercial channels especially to low-income audiences. Partnerships have been initiated with the private sector in 17 developing countries, with examples provided from the Dominican Republic, Liberia and Ecuador. These projects have increased private sector involvement in family planning, thereby promoting service expansion at lower public sector cost.
HEALTH POLICY AND PLANNING. 1991 Dec; 6(4):327-35.Many non-governmental organizations (NGO) remained in the Wollo region of Ethiopia following famine relief and emergency medical service efforts of 1984-85. Since then, these organizations have helped identify strategies and processes needed to implement Ministry of Health (MOH) policies, especially in the area of integrated maternal-child/curative health services. This paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of 4 broad approaches to health development adopted by the NGOs over the post-famine relief period of 1986-88, and considers further strategic adaptation in later years. Under the themes of direct management, clinic adoption, impact area, and air-drop resources, earlier NGO approaches largely suffered poor sustainability, non-replicability, and inefficient use of resources. Moreover, these approaches distracted the MOH from pursuing its own viable approaches, effectively stymieing the development of district and regional health systems. Later NGO approaches support improvements in the MOH's priority health programs through the provision of technical and material assistance for analyzing, developing, and implementing improved systems of district health management and care. NGOs wishing to adapt their existing programs into a comparable health systems approach should build upon existing relationships with the MOH in support of district and regional health services, foster skill development among indigenous health personnel, seek avenues to improve efficiency, and promote activity-based training and regional and district health team management.
Management information systems in maternal and child health / family planning programs: a multi-country analysis.
STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING. 1991 Jan-Feb; 22(1):19-30.Management and information systems (MIS) in maternal and child health were surveyed in 40 developing countries by trained consultants using a diagnostic instrument developed by UNFPA and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The instrument covered indicators of input (physical infrastructure, personnel, training, finances, equipment, logistics), output (recipients of services, coverage, efficiency), quality, and impact, as well as frequency, timeliness and reliability of information. The consultants visited national and 2 provincial level administrative and service points of public and private agencies. Information on input was often lacking on numbers and locations of populations with access to services. In 15 countries data were lacking on personnel posts filled and training status. Logistics systems for equipment and supplies were inadequate in most areas except Asia, resulting in shortfalls of all types of materials and vehicles coinciding with idle supplies in warehouses. Financial reporting systems were present in only 13 countries. Service outputs were reported in terms of current users in 13 countries, but the proportion of couples covered was unknown in 25 countries. 2 countries had cost-effectiveness figures. Redundant forms duplicated efforts in half of the countries, while data were not broken down at the usable level of analysis for decision-making in most. Few African countries had either manual or computer capacity to handle all needed data. Family planning data especially was not available to draw the total picture. Often information was available too late to be useful, except in Portuguese speaking countries. Even when quality data existed, managers were frequently unaware of it. It is recommended that training and consultancies be provided for managers and that these types of surveys be repeated periodically.