National Policies and Strategic Plans Print E-mail

National Policies and Strategic Plans

The Strategic Approach to Improving Reproductive Health Policies and Programmes: A Summary of Experiences (2002) outlines a step-wise strategy for working within countries to improve a broad range of sexual and reproductive health policies and programs at the district or national levels. Drawing on a systems framework, it outlines three stages of work (the strategic assessment, action research, scaling up) and emphasizes a participatory, adaptive process. Case studies of 18 country experiences describe the use of WHO's Strategic Approach in areas such as cervical cancer (Bolivia), contraception, STIs and HIV/AIDS (Brazil), comprehensive reproductive health care (China), family planning (Myanmar), and improving the quality of legal abortion services (Viet Nam). An annex lists potential sources of technical and financial support. The approach is guided by a philosophy of reproductive health that embraces reproductive rights, gender equity and equality as envisioned in the Programme of Action of ICPD and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

A related publication, A Framework to Assist Countries in the Development and Strengthening of National and District Health Plans and Programmes in Reproductive Health: Suggestions for Programme Managers (2002) is the product of a meeting of regional advisers in reproductive health organized by the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction. The manual is organized around four questions and the tools needed to respond to them. What are the current reproductive health situations and needs, and how can they be aqsessed? (Situational anclysis and Needs assessment)  What has been done so far? (Response analysis) What should be done? (Strategic planning of appropriate interventions) How should progress be monitored and evaluated?  (Effectiveness/impact assessment) The report is full of helpful ideas for setting priorities, identifying stakeholders, building a national consensus, and related topics. Case studies from Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Americas and the Western Pacific tell of informative (and sometimes discouraging) experiences with real-life challenges such as lack of funding, scarce managerial skills, infrastructure problems and coping with health sector reforms. 

Additional policy and strategic planning guidelines on specific topics have been listed in the appropriate sections above. These include Advancing Safe Motherhood through Human Rights by Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens (2001) and Global Action for Skilled Attendants for Pregnant Women (2002); Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems (2003) and Considerations for Formulating Reproductive Health Laws by Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens (2000); Global Health Strategy for HIV/AIDS, 2003-2007 (2003) and Reproductive Health: Strategy to Accelerate Progress Towards the Attainment of International Development Goals and Targets (2003); Global Consultation on the Health Services Response to the Prevention and Care of HIV/AIDS among Young People (2003) and Programming for Adolescent Health and Development (1999), among other documents.

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