Metamorphosis of the FPA.

  • Braeken D
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World contraceptive prevalence has gone form 9% in 1960-65 to an estimated 50% by 1990. In 1976 there were 97 governments providing direct support for family planning; in 1988 that number grew to 125. To date, the single largest problem facing family planning associations (FPAs) has been too low a level of government funding. FPAs have traditionally only dealt with birth control and pregnancy avoidance,m but as the world has changed, so will the role of FPAs. In developing countries FPAs can either continue providing information, services, research, and advocacy or they can expand into new territory and become facilitators of community based services rather than service providers, become an innovating forced to develop new service strategies, and act as an advocate to increase government's awareness of sexual and reproductive issues. In developed countries the responsibility of contraceptive distribution has been largely taken over by general practitioners (GPs) so FPAs are moving into new territory such as education, STD/AIDS prevention, sexuality training, psychosexual counselling, and handling of sexual abuse and violence cases. Other new strategies for FPAs in developed countries include: public information and education, sexual education for youths, training of health care professionals, organization networking, community based education programs, and raising awareness of policy makers and planners. Eastern Europe provides a unique opportunity for FPAs. In many, democracy is making family planning less available. As market economies replace centrally planned economies, government involvement in people lives is being reduced. In many of these countries contraceptives were unavailable because of their high cost and low priority. In their place women relied upon abortion as their primary method of fertility control. However, abortion is becoming less and less available. The void this creates in terms of fertility control is not being filled which means that FPAs have a tremendous opportunity.

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  • D Braeken

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