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    073728

    Family planning goes public.

    Merritt AP

    INTEGRATION. 1992 Jun; (32):41-3.

    The Center for Family Orientation (COF), a private family planning agency with clinics in 8 provinces of Bolivia, initiated a bold, scientifically planned, and successful mass media campaign in 1986. As late as 1978 the Bolivian government had been hostile to COF. The Johns Hopkins University/Population Communication Services helped COF determine that the Bolivian public and its leaders were open to more information about family planning. Bolivia, the poorest Latin American country, then had 7 million people, expected to double in 27 years. There are 2 distinct indigenous groups, the Aymara and the Quechua, and Spanish-speaking people, centered in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz, respectively. Only 4% of couples use modern family planning methods. Initial surveys of 522 opinion leaders, 300 family planning users, focus groups of users, and a population survey of 1300 people in 8 provinces showed that 90% wanted modern family planning services. Radio was chosen to inform potential users about COF's services, to increase clinic attendance, and to involve men. To obtain support from public leaders, 10 conferences were held. The 1st series of radio messages focused on health benefits of family planning and responsible parenthood; the 2nd series gave specific benefits, information on child spacing, breast feeding, and optimal ages for childbearing. Besides 36,800 radio spots broadcast on 17 stations, booklets, posters, calendars, promotional items, and audiotapes to be played in public busses, were all designed, pretested, and revised. New acceptors increased 71% during the 11-month campaign. Success of the project influenced the start of the National Reproductive Health Project and new IEC efforts planned through cooperation of public and private institutions.
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