|Strengthening the Fabric of Society: Population. Capacity Building for Sustainable Development (UNDP - UNFPA, 1996, 53 p.)|
|4. Essential Capacity Building Requirements|
There are two very broad areas of capacity building in population activities:
1) population policy-making and analysis; and
2) the provision of services for reproductive health and family planning programmes.
Population policy making and analysis relies upon several interrelated activities: population data collection and analysis; research; dissemination; policy formulation; policy planning; and policy implementation and evaluation (elaborated earlier in Box 1). Appropriate and timely population policy formulation and implementation are essential elements in any national development strategy.
Concurrent with a national population strategy is the need to provide quality services for reproductive health care, including family planning and sexual health (RH/FP/SH). Further capacity building should be concentrated on meeting the needs for increased BH/FP/SH information and services. Consider the following challenges:
- Already, some 350 million couples lack access to a complete range of family planning services and contraceptives. Even if their needs are met, this figure will increase along with population growth in the coming years. But efforts taken now to provide better quality family planning services that are more sensitive to local needs, paying particular attention to women's concerns, can offset some of the effects of population growth.
- Meeting projected demand for family planning in the period up to 2015 implies that the number of couples using contraception in the developing world will rise from around 550 million in 1995 to nearly 640 million by the year 2000 and to 880 million in 2015. Proportionally, however, the greatest increase will be in Africa, where the contraceptive prevalence rate will have to double, from 11 per cent in 1990 to nearly 20 per cent by 2000.
- In order for developing countries to reach contraceptive prevalence rates of around 70 per cent, common in the developed world, the quality of reproductive health care services will have to be improved considerably over the course of the next decade. This means that the bulk of the developing world will have to concentrate more efforts on improving the capacity of their population programmes to meet unmet demand or, in some cases, generate more demand. This will involve, among other things: putting more emphasis on training programmes capable of turning out qualified reproductive health and family planning personnel; on launching effective national information, communication and education campaigns; and on setting up institutional mechanisms which permit the incorporation of population variables into national development strategies.
- Too many girls still get married at very early ages. Although many developing countries make attempts to discourage or limit teenage marriages, most are unsuccessful in practise. It has been estimated that 40 per cent of all 14-year-old girls alive today will be pregnant at least once by the time they are 20. In Bangladesh four out of five adolescent girls are mothers and three out of four teenagers in Africa. One reason for these high rates is that, worldwide, three-quarters of girls under 15 and half of those 16 or older have no access to family planning services or formal education.
In addition to extending family planning programmes to incorporate teenage mothers and fathers, family planning services need to be better adapted to local customs and preferences. More efforts, for instance, should go into finding out what kinds of information and services are preferred by women and men in different regions of the same country. What is desired in one village may not be desired in another. Programmes have to be more sensitive and responsive to specific needs and interests.
Tailoring RH/FP/SH services for specific communities also helps bolster local participation. Those programmes operating with solid community support are more likely to be successful than those which fail to take account of local preferences and needs. Experience shows that population programmes succeed best when they become people's movements, as in Indonesia.