Meeting health and family planning needs in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The operations research and technical assistance (OR/TA) project in The Population Council has concentrated on fertility and infant mortality issues in Latin American and the Caribbean for more than a decade through INOPAL. INOPAL is an acronym for Investigacion Operacional en Planificacion Familiar y Atencion Materno-Infantil para America Latina y el Caribe (Operations Research in Family Planning and Maternal-Child Health in Latin America and the Caribbean). In March 1995, the project entered its third phase, INOPAL III, with the renewal of its contract from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). To facilitate communication between INOPAL, collaborating agencies, and USAID, INOPAL Director James Foreit moved from Peru to a Council office in Washington, D.C. INOPAL has six objectives: 1) to test the integration of family planning and reproductive health services; 2) to increase access to family planning; 3) to develop strategies to reach special populations; 4) to improve the sustainability of family planning programs; 5) to improve service quality; and 6) to institutionalize operations research capability in the region. INOPAL II conducted 61 subprojects in 12 countries in collaboration with 24 USAID cooperating agencies and other international organizations. The project established new services for postpartum women, adolescents, and rural women; improved program quality and financial sustainability; increased vasectomy promotion and the range of available contraceptives; and developed new modes of service delivery. A key finding of INOPAL II operations research was the importance of increasing cost-effectiveness to ensure program sustainability. INOPAL III will work toward all six objectives, with an emphasis on integrating reproductive health and family planning services. Operations research and technical assistance (OR/TA) subprojects will focus on the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, perinatal and postpartum care, and postabortion care.
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