Providing maternal and child health-family planning services to a large rural population: results of the Bohol Project, Philippines.
- PubMed: 6848001
The Bohol Project (1975-1979) sought to improve maternal and child health and to increase the use of family planning among a rural Philippine population of 400,000. Research indicated that maternal and child health (MCH) services did become more available during the Project period and coverage of the priority populations improved. Family planning (FP) use, particularly of less effective methods, increased and fertility declined although some change could have been expected even without the Project. Deaths due to neonatal tetanus were almost eliminated by mortality rates did not decline for a number of reasons, including the fact that services were probably not tailored closely enough to local health problems, especially respiratory diseases. The Project showed that it was possible to increase health and family planning services by using low-cost strategies (such as setting up community drug stores) and by employing paramedical workers, in this case, midwives. Preventive MCH-FP services were not overwhelmed by curative services as had been feared. Perhaps the most significant contributions of the Project were the lessons learned about delivering health and family planning services and conducting evaluation research. In general, if developing countries could maintain well-evaluated field laboratories for working out health and family planning delivery approaches before going nationwide, it is likely that time and money would be saved in the long run.