Int'l Groups to Help Families in Regions

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The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 04/08/2010 9:56 AM|

Indonesia will be one of three countries, along with Tanzania and Uganda, to house the Advance Family Planning (AFP) initiative, which aims to revitalize the family planning program through advocating the program to regional policy makers.

According to Sugiri Syarief, head of the National Family Planning Coordinator Board, Indonesia’s once globally recognized family planning program has been static over the last few years.He said the number of couples who were interested in joining, but did not receive access to the government’s family planning program, increased from 8.6 percent in 2003 to 9.1 percent in 2007, Sugiri said. This occurred due to the government’s limited capacity, especially in reaching families in remote areas in the archipelago, he added.The AFP initiative project, which will run for three years, said it aimed to encourage local leaders to prioritize family planning in their development plan.Jose Rimon II, senior program officer for global health policy and advocacy from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the supporters of the program, said that the advocation method would be formulated with family planning cause members. “The Indonesians will decide if we have the capacity to help them develop the tools,” Rimon said.

He cited the possibility of using an analytical, interactive, computer-based tool called RAPID.”If a population is going to continue to grow at a certain level, it will tell you how many schools you will need, and it will help local parliamentary members and the head of a regency learn how a family planning program can help save money,” Rimon said.  According to Sugiri, one factor affecting the program’s productivity was decentralization, which replaced the centralized governing and policy-making of the New Order. He said the advocacy strategy was needed in the regions.”Not all regencies and towns are dedicated to family planning programs. In their view, those programs waste money,” he said. Sugiri added that several regencies or towns, especially those newly formed, believed they needed more manpower for development.”If we can convince regency heads, for example, that family planning is worth investing in, then they will allocate funds,” he said.  Sugiri added that the country currently needed advocacy and capacity building for those running the programs at regional level, to decentralize the family planning program:.Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, who officially launched the AFP initiative, said the programs should be in line with existing government programs. (dis)