Comparative Analysis of Program Effort for Family Planning, Maternal Health, and HIV/AIDS, 30 Developing Countries

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Author(s): Ross J A

Year: 2003

CONTEXT: Many developing countries have mounted national programs for family planning, for maternal health, or for HIV/AIDS, but rather little is known about how closely these three programs parallel or support each other. Measures of program effort are now available for all three activities, collected in the 1999-2000 period, with common data on 30 countries that contain half of the developing world's population. METHODS: All three studies used questionnaires completed by expert observers for each country. Experts from a variety of backgrounds and institutional affiliations were identified, with a different set of persons for each study since the field operations were entirely separate and done at different times. Each program was rated on a large number of features, and the ratings were all quantified as the percent of the maximum possible scores. RESULTS: As an average, the strength of effort of these three programs is similar across the 30 countries, at slightly over half of the maximum scores. However the averages conceal sharp variations. In some countries the total scores are close for two or even all three of the programs, but in others there are large disparities. In addition, there is no correspondence across countries in the strength of the family planning and the HIV/AIDS programs, although both correlate appreciably with the maternal health programs. Policy scores are relatively high and vary rather little across the regions, but access to services shows substantial differences from one program to another; moreover Sub-Saharan Africa scores low on family planning and maternal health, but about as well on HIV/AIDS as do the other regions. Over time, countries with the weakest efforts have improved their scores more than countries with the strongest efforts have.

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