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Reproductive Health and Family Planning


This illustration appears in a brochure for potential family planning users in Benin. It encourages people to seek counseling from a health care worker who can help them choose the contraceptive method best suited to their needs.

Since 1980, URC has supported more than 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean in developing successful family planning programs. Our expertise covers all aspects of family planning programs at all health care system levels: community, facility, district, provincial, and national.

Family planning and reproductive health are integral components of a broad, integrated health framework that links to maternal and child health, the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and other health areas. Family planning is a proven, cost-effective intervention that empowers women and men to exercise their right to make voluntary and informed decisions about the number, spacing, and timing of pregnancy and childbearing. It contributes to reductions in unwanted pregnancies, maternal and child death, malnutrition, poverty, and the spread of HIV and to economic development and environmental protection.

URC works with country partners to achieve the US Global Health Initiative’s (GHI’s) reproductive health and family planning targets: to reduce unintended pregnancies, increase contraceptive prevalence rates, and reduce the proportion of women who give birth before the age of 18. We work along the full continuum of health services, guiding the areas described below.

Service Delivery

Ensuring that all family planning services meet nationally approved, evidence-based guidelines is an important component of URC’s technical assistance. URC has provided more than a decade of support to the Guatemalan Ministry of Health (MOH), contributing to a significant increase in the delivery of family planning services to men and women through the Calidad en Salud (Quality in Health) and US Agency for International Development Health Care Improvement (HCI) projects. For example, in 2004, the Government provided family planning services to approximately 270,000 new users; by 2009, this figure more than doubled, reaching nearly 570,000. The projects also broadened access to clinical health services for traditionally underserved populations in rural areas. As shown in the figure below, contraceptive prevalence increased dramatically in both urban and rural settings, an average of 1.6 points per year between 1998 and 2008. 


Integration into Other Health Services

Through HCI, URC successfully integrated family planning into antenatal care in Kenya, postpartum care in Mali and Afghanistan, and HIV care in Uganda, with significant results. For example, with Uganda’s MOH, we improved links between family planning services and HIV care and support. In one result, the proportion of HIV-positive patients counseled on family planning at every visit in participating health facilities rose from 40% in June 2006 to 95% in October 2007 (see figure below).


In Cambodia, our USAID-funded Better Health Services (BHS) Project and other partners advocated for the provision of family planning services in hospitals and for establishing links between this and other services, such as postpartum/postabortion care and HIV testing and treatment. Previously, only health centers—not hospitals—provided family planning counseling and services. As a result of advocacy efforts, the policy was changed and hospitals may now order contraceptives and provide family planning services.

URC is leading a new project to reduce chronic malnutrition in Guatemala, a component of which involves strengthening family planning services at the community level.

Policy and Advocacy

URC works closely with local stakeholders from government ministries, congressional committees, women’s groups, private employers, nongovernmental organizations, and members of the media and scientific communities to support the reproductive rights of men and women. We conduct community-level advocacy to persuade religious, business, and other leaders to encourage people to visit health facilities for family planning information and services. We also disseminate advocacy briefs, technical notes, and research reports to inform policy makers, health professionals, and users of family planning services. We have facilitated efforts to develop and introduce national family planning guidelines and manuals in several countries.

Behavior Change Communication

To ensure that information and materials on family planning reach the people who need them, URC studies each community’s needs, perceptions, and behaviors. We then design research-oriented, evidence-based, and culturally appropriate behavior change communication programs. For example, the Health Promotion and Communication (HealthPRO) project worked with the Philippine Department of Health to design a national family planning communication strategy. The strategy—and its resulting campaign, “May Plano Ako, Kaya mo ring magplano” (I have a plan. You can have one too.)—is being implemented in 28 provinces. It repositions messages from focusing only on family planning’s health benefits to portraying it as a way to improve families’ quality of life. 

To promote family planning services in the Philippines, HealthPRO developed communication materials like posters (left) and T-shirts with "I have a plan. You can have one too."




Supply Chain Management

With URC support, Benin, Guatemala, Malawi, Mozambique, and Nicaragua have launched family planning and contraceptive logistic management information systems (LMIS) tailored to their country circumstances. The computer-based LMIS helps local counterparts manage the purchasing, warehousing, transportation, and distribution of contraceptive commodities; it captures information on stock levels, shipments in transit, and contraceptive consumption patterns. URC also helped train MOH logistics units to use LMIS data for decision making and planning. Medistock, software developed in Benin through URC’s USAID-funded Integrated Family Health Project, tracks forecasts and orders from health facilities, taking into account expiration dates and currently available stocks. The software significantly reduced stock-outs of drugs in project regions.

Capacity Building and Human Resources Development

URC understands that true country ownership and health system strengthening begin by engaging all levels of a health system in setting goals, identifying bottlenecks, and testing improved practices and tools. Health care providers who embrace the goals of quality of care become strong advocates, contributing actively to improving outcomes. URC provides support for capacity building in advocacy and policy development, leadership and management, counseling, contraceptive technology, clinical procedures, and supply chain management.

Operations Research

Since its founding, URC has sought to shrink the “know-do” gap through research that directly addresses the political, social, medical, and institutional barriers to stronger family planning programs. Our cost analysis of contraceptive use demonstrated the savings potential of investment in family planning; market segmentation studies uncovered potential demand for contraceptives; and follow-up studies on family planning users identified the main causes for contraceptive discontinuation. URC applies operations research as a management approach for helping family planning organizations develop and test ways to improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of services.

Download our technical brief to learn more about our Reproductive Health and Family Planning work.

Current Projects

Building Human Resource Capacity to Support Prevention, Care, and Treatment: Strategic Information and Other HIV/AIDS Programs
Funded By: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Project Duration: 2008 to present

Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care (EONC) Networks Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2009 to present

Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2009 to present

Strengthening the Response to TB, HIV and STIs in Central America and Panama Region
Funded By: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Project Duration: 2010 to present

Partnership for the Community Management of Child Health (Partenariat pour la Prise en Charge Communautaire de la Santé Infantile – Prise-C)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2010 to present

Nutri-Salud: Community Nutrition and Health Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2012 to present

Benin Muskoka
Funded By: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Project Duration: 2012 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Global
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the USAID Bureau for Global Health, Office of Health Systems
Project Duration: 2012 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Cote d’Ivoire
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID/Cote d’Ivoire
Project Duration: April 2013 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | India
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID/India
Project Duration: 2013 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Niger
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID Bureau for Global Health, Office of Population and Reproductive Health
Project Duration: 2013 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | South Africa
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID/South Africa
Project Duration: 2013 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Uganda
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID/Uganda and the Bureau for Global Health, Office of HIV and AIDS and the Office of Health Systems
Project Duration: 2012 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Ukraine
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the USAID Bureau for Europe and Eurasia
Project Duration: 2013 to present

USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project | Botswana
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through USAID Bureau for Global Health, Office of Health Systems
Project Duration: January 2013 to present

Quality Health Services for Haiti (Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haïti – SSQH) North Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2013 to present

Quality Improvement in the Delivery of Health Services in Belize
Funded By: Inter-American Development Bank and Belize Ministry of Health
Project Duration: 2013 to present

Social Health Protection Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2013 to present

USAID Quality Health Services
Funded By: USAID
Project Duration: 2014-2019

The Quality Health Services project, funded by USAID, will draw on and scale up successful initiatives started under USAID Cambodia’s recently ended Better Health Services (BHS) project, which was also managed by URC. In addition, the team will apply the knowledge and systems built during BHS to create new capacity-building activities in areas where critical gaps remain.

USAID Ghana Systems for Health Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2014 to present

TASC 4 Africa - Population, Health and Nutrition IDIQ
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2014 to present

Advancing Newborn, Child and Reproductive Health (ANCRE) Program
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2014 to present

Past Projects

Better Health Services (BHS)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2009-2013

USAID's Health Promotion and Communication Project (HealthPRO)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2007–2012

Increasing Access to HIV Testing and Counseling
Funded By: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Project Duration: 2006-2012

Benin Integrated Family Health Project (Projet Intégré de Santé Familiale, PISAF)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development and the President’s Malaria Initiative through USAID for malaria activities
Project Duration: 2006–2012

Technical Assistance and Support Contract 3: Global Health (TASC3 Global Health)
Funded By: United States Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007-2013

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Afghanistan
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2008-2013

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Ecuador
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007–2012

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | El Salvador
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2009–2012

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Ethiopia
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007–2012

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Guatemala
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2008-2012

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Honduras
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007-2012

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Global
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007 to 2014

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Mali
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2009-2013

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Nicaragua
Funded By: United States Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007 to 2014

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Niger
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2007-2013

USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) | Russia
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2007-2012

Community-Based Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Innovation
Funded By: US Agency for International Development through a sub-award from ChildFund International
Project Duration: 2009 to 2012

Improving Primary Health Care in Albania I and II (Pro Shëndetit)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2003–2009

Multi-Sector Alliance Program (Alianzas II)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development through RTI International
Project Duration: 2010 to 2012

Asia Family Planning Operations Research Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development, Office of Population
Project Duration: 1985-1991

Nongovernmental Organization Service Delivery Program in Bangladesh
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Bangladesh
Project Duration: 2002-2006

Health Systems Strengthening (HSS)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Cambodia
Project Duration: 2002-2008

Cambodia Health Equity Funds
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2006-2009

El Salvador Strengthening Health Project Technical Assistance and Support Contract 2 (TASC2)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2006–2009

Eritrea Technical Assistance and Support Contract 2 (TASC2)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Eritrea
Project Duration: 2003–2006

The Maram Project: Healthier Palestinian Families
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2002-2004

Diagnostic Test Cost Analysis for the Developing World
Funded By: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Project Duration: 2007–2009

Health Planning and Health Delivery Systems
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1983-1990

Primary Health Care Management Advancement Program
Funded By: The Aga Khan Foundation
Project Duration: 1991-1993

Partnerships for Health Reform Project and Partners for Health Reformplus
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1995–2005

Primary Health Care Operations Research Project (PRICOR) I and II
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1981–1991

Technical Information on Population for the Private Sector
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1985-1990

Multi-Sector Alliance Program (Alianzas I)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID) through Research Triangle Institute (RTI)
Project Duration: 2006–2009

Quality in Health (Calidad en Salud)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1999-2009

Quality Improvement System Design Consultancy
Funded By: The World Bank/Population and Reproductive Health Project and the Ministry of Health of Guinea
Project Duration: 2001

Haiti Voluntary Agencies for Child Survival Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1989-1995

Indonesia Private Sector Family Planning Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Indonesia
Project Duration: 1990-1996

Indonesia Information System Services
Funded By: National Family Planning Coordinating Board of Indonesia
Project Duration: 1992–1994

Jamaica Adolescent Healthy Lifestyles (JA-STYLE)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Jamaica
Project Duration: 2005-2008

Malawi Support to AIDS and Family Health Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1994-1998

Project for Regional Management of Health Services
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Morocco
Project Duration: 1994-2003

Regional Management of Health Services Project (Project de Gestion Régionale des Services de Santé, PROGRESS)
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2000-2003

Mozambique Primary Health Care Support Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1994-1999

Niger Family Health and Demography Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Niger
Project Duration: 1989-1995

Peru Strengthening Health Institutions Project, MaxSalud Component
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Peru
Project Duration: 1994-1999

Quality Assurance Project (QAP) I, II, and III
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1990-2008

Romania Health Care Reform Program
Funded By: US Agency for International Development /Romania
Project Duration: 2005-2008

Women and Infant Health Strategy
Funded By: US Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 1999-2003

TASC II Tuberculosis/South Africa
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/South Africa
Project Duration: 2004-2009

Development of a Population and Family Health Improvement Project in the Solomon Islands
Funded By: Asian Development Bank
Project Duration: 1994-1995

Somalia Family Health Services I and II
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/Somalia
Project Duration: 1985-1991

Integrated Technical Assistance Project
Funded By: US Agency for International Development/South Africa
Project Duration: 2004-2008

Uganda: REDUCE II
Funded By: Academy for Educational Development
Project Duration: 2000-2001

Campaign for Our Children Media Initiative
Funded By: Maryland Governor’s Council on Adolescent Pregnancy
Project Duration: 1997

Evaluation of Family Planning Programs
Funded By: US Department of Health and Human Services
Project Duration: 1980-1985

UNICEF Malawi and New York
Funded By: UNICEF
Project Duration: 2008-2010

Technical Assistance and Support Contract 2 (TASC2): Global Health
Funded By: United States Agency for International Development
Project Duration: 2004–2009

Technical Assistance and Support Contract (TASC2) Tuberculosis
Funded By: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2004–2009

Quality Improvement of Family Planning Care
Funded By: Belize Ministry of Health
Project Duration: 2011 to 2012

USAID Health Care Improvement (HCI) | Madagascar Community Health Volunteer Assessment
Funded By: US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Project Duration: 2011-2013



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