Public Help Sought to Send Vital Family Planning Information Overseas

30 Oct 2007

fpbook2Health care providers in developing countries need accurate and up-to-date reproductive health information that could help them save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, help women and men plan their families, and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. A new web-based campaign from the INFO project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health allows web-site visitors to send out the latest family planning guidance for just $10 a copy.

The new “Send a Handbook” campaign, launched Tuesday at www.fphandbook.org, invites people to defray the cost of sending print copies of Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers to developing countries. The World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) published the book earlier this year.

“It is vital that health providers in developing countries have comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date information at their fingertips to pass on to clients.” said Earle Lawrence, INFO’s Project Director. “This new handbook will help them do just that.”

“In addition to HIV/AIDS, unplanned pregnancies are a major cause of maternal and child deaths,” said Lawrence. “Each year hundreds of thousands of women and even a greater number of infants die as a result of unplanned pregnancies. Family planning helps delay the birth of a first child, space out later births, and prevents additional unwanted pregnancies,” he said. “But there is so much misinformation about contraceptive methods,” he adds, “we have to help providers and their clients get the knowledge they need to make informed choices based on scientific evidence…. The extra funds from the campaign will help us cover the cost of dissemination and translation, beyond the support we are already getting from USAID.”

Despite great progress over the last several decades, more than 100 million married women worldwide want to prevent pregnancy but are not using a contraceptive method. Reasons for this unmet need include limited services and supply, fears of social disapproval, or a partner’s opposition to contraceptive use. Misinformation about side effects and lack of information about all available choices also prevents many women from using contraception.

“Our hope is that by placing this book in the right hands we can continue to close the knowledge gap,” said Lawrence.

Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers

Published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the INFO Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the handbook brings together the best available scientific evidence on family planning methods and related topics into one easy-to-use publication. The book is the result of collaboration among 30 leading health organizations around the world. As the fourth cornerstone of WHO’s family planning guidance, Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers offers technical information to help health care providers deliver family planning methods appropriately and effectively.

Distributing the Handbook

The handbook is currently available at no cost to readers in developing countries in English both online and as a bound publication. Translations are planned for at least 10 languages, including Spanish, French, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (African), Romanian, Russian, Hindi, Swahili, Arabic and Urdu.

Further information and instructions for ordering can be found at: www.fphandbook.org.

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