Effort Indices for National Family Planning Programs, 1999 Cycle

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Author(s): Ross J, Stover J

Year: 2000

Since 1972 indices to measure effort by large-scale family planning programs have been measured periodically. The fifth cycle, in 1999, found a higher average score for all countries than five years ago, at the time of the Cairo conference. Countries with initially low scores have improved considerably more than others and have moved sharply upward over the years to approach these with initially high scores. The profiles of effort over 30 program features differ sharply between strong and weak programs; the latter fall below the former on every score. All countries, regardless of their average score, are selective in the features they stress, but weak programs are more erratic in their selectivity than strong programs. The strongest programs have stabilized at about 80 percent of the maximum score; the all-country average is about two-thirds of that standard. In addition, the international picture is more favorable when country scores are weighted by population size: over two-thirds of people in the developing world live in countries with relatively high scores. Nevertheless, a substantial gap persists between the performance of most individual programs and the 80 percent level. Prevalence of contraceptive use continues to be highest under the combination of favorable social settings and strong programs.

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