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Last updated:

May 17, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


Introduces issues and programmatic strategies related to the development, organization, and management of family planning programs, especially those in developing countries.


This course is intended for persons interested in policies, programs, and issues in population and reproductive health in developing countries.

Course Description

Topics include social, economic, health, and human rights rationale for family planning; identifying and measuring populations in need of family planning services; social, cultural, political, and ethical barriers; contraceptive methods and their programmatic requirements; strategic alternatives, including integrated and vertical programs and public and private sector services; information, education, and communication strategies; management information systems; and the use of computer models for program design.

Course Objectives

Students completing this course will be able to:
  • Characterize different contraceptive technologies in terms of their service delivery requirements and their appropriateness for different stages in the reproductive cycle;
  • Compute the Bongaarts intermediate fertility variables and assess how they relate to the level of fertility observed in a population;
  • Analyze contraceptive technologies and service delivery programs from a user perspective;
  • Specify key elements that characterize a high-quality service delivery program;
  • Evaluate the role of incentives and disincentives in a family planning program;
  • Discuss the pros and cons of integrated versus vertical family planning and reproductive health service delivery programs;
  • Explain the rationale for cost-recovery in family planning and the observed relationships between price and use of contraceptives;
  • Assess the roles of the private sector and social marketing in a family planning program strategy;
  • Formulate a multifaceted program strategy designed to effectively address that segment of the population with an unmet need for contraception;
  • Appreciate the ethical issues and human rights concerns that are raised by family planning programs.


There are no prerequisites for this course.


There is no textbook. All lecture notes, slide presentations and required readings will be available to students electronically.

Course Topics

Among the topics covered in this course are:
  • Bongaarts Intermediate Fertility Variables
  • Unmet Need for Family Planning
  • Unwanted Fertility and Induced Abortion
  • Quality of Care and Medical Barriers to Contraceptive Services
  • Couples and Men in Contraceptive Decision Making
  • Community-Based Contraceptive Distribution
  • Paying for Family Planning: Cost Recovery and Social Marketing
  • Incentives and Disincentives in Family Planning Programs
  • Integration of Family Planning with Health Programs
  • Ethical Issues in Family Planning and Population Policy


Reading List (28KB) This document contains a comprehensive list of all readings, including those for the live chat sessions.

Other Resources

» Profiles for Family Planning and Reproduction (760 KB)

This document, authored by Ross, Stover, and Willard, is the source of much information in the lecture notes and slides.

» Related Links (22 KB)

This document contains a list of websites that those interested in Family Planning may find useful.

» SPECTRUM Projection Software Information (27.6 KB)

» Population Reports

Course Curriculum

    • Population Policies 02:00:00
    • Proximate Determinants 01:20:00
    • Contraceptive Technologies: Continuation & Failure Rates 01:20:00
    • Demand, Supply, and Unmet Need 01:20:00
    • Unwanted Fertility and Induced Abortion 01:20:00
    • Case Studies – Users Perspectives, Quality of Care, Medical Barriers and Contraceptive Choices 00:55:00
    • Paying for Family Planning 01:15:00
    • Ethical Issues 00:55:00
    • Incentives and Coercion 00:55:00
    • Gender Relations 01:10:00
    • Community Based Distribution 01:10:00
    • Integration 01:10:00
    • Assignments 2 days

About the instructor

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