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History of the National Family Planning Board

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Emergent Phase (1930s to 1966)

Family Planning Services were first available in Jamaica in the 1930s through the efforts of a number of committed individuals. In the 1950s, services were strengthened when social work associations and interest groups collaborated and established the Jamaica Family Planning Association. In 1963, the Government of Jamaica officially recognised problems associated with population growth and the need for family planning. Consequently, the Government initiated services in selected hospitals, and established a special unit in the Ministry of Health (MOH) to give direction to and cooperate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Bureau of Health Education, which began providing educational materials and training for family planning, enhanced these initiatives..

 

Development Phase (1967 to 1980)

In 1967, the GOJ created the National Family Planning Board (NFPB). Throughout the 1970s, Family planning gained greater visibility and importance for Jamaica's development agenda. The NFPB, empowered by the National Family Planning Act (1970), became the Government agency responsible for preparing, implementing, coordinating, and promoting family planning services in Jamaica.

The 1970s were also landmark years for programme implementation: Family Life Education (FLE) teacher training workshops began, a scheme for the commercial distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives (Panther and Pearle) was initiated, and mass media (radio, television, billboards, and print) became an important information dissemination channel for launching the "Two Child Family" campaign. In 1974, the GOJ officially integrated family planning services with the MOH primary health care programme, thereby greatly increasing the number of health centers offering family planning. By the end of the decade, an island-wide network of family planning clinics was operating and birth rates had decreased from 34 per 1,000 in 1970 to 28.

 

Expansion Phase (1981 to 1995)

Throughout the 1980s, the family planning programme began to soar quickly as a result of several benchmark events. The NFPB established specialised family planning clinics in underserved areas, and international donors accelerated support for clinical and counselling services in public clinics. The GOJ officially adopted the National Population Policy (1983), which reinforced political commitment to the reduction of fertility and the expansion of family planning services for all men and women of reproductive age. Multiple public and private sector projects increased the availability of family planning and introduced alternative approaches to service delivery. Highlights from this decade included establishing the following:

  • Male responsibility programmes;
  • Community-based distribution of contraceptives in rural areas;
  • An adolescent fertility resource center;
  • The Parish Liaison Officers Programme;
  • Mobile units integrating family planning into nutrition programmes; and
  • Services designed for teenagers in urban areas.

Since 1990, the programme has focused on increasing consumer access, improving service quality, and achieving financial sustainability. Between 1992 and 1995, surveys and special studies helped to define unmet needs, legal and regulatory constraints to programme expansion, and strategies for increasing private sector participation in family planning service provision. New technologies were introduced, including Norplant, female sterilisation (mini-laparotomy) under local anaesthesia, and no-scalpel vasectomy for men. A commercialised initiative, Personal Choice, introduced a wide range of safe, low-dose oral contraceptive pills and contraceptive injectables at prices affordable to many more Jamaicans.

In 1994, the Government assumed greater financial responsibility for public sector contraceptive procurement due to dwindling donor resources and the growing need for family planning services among Jamaicans.

Thus, during the expansion phase, the family planning programme significantly increased consumer awareness and service access, expanded contraceptive choices, and consolidated into a cohesive national programme encompassing a large number of public and private sector organisations.

 

Departments

Policy Formulation, Monitoring and Evaluation Department

  • Monitors and evaluates the progress of the national family planning programme;
  • Assists in the formulation of policy positions;
  • Assists in the development of strategies to address Reproductive Health issues; and
  • Develops information dissemination strategies to address Family Planning/Reproductive Health issues.

Outreach Department

  • Develops and co-ordinates training programmes; and
  • Develops information dissemination strategies to address Family Planning/Reproductive Health issues.

The Finance Department

  • Ensures that all financial transactions of the agency are properly recorded in keeping with the Generally Accepted Accounting practices and guided by the Financial Administration and Auditing Act; and
  • Ensures that proper controls are kept of all subsidiary records, books and accounting material in keeping with the guidelines laid down by the Health and Finance Ministries through staff orders and circulars.

Human Resources & Administration Department

The Unit is responsible for the personnel management of the organisation, its annual planning process and administration:-

  • Recruits and selects staff;
  • Implements and executes human resource policies and practices;
  • Procures goods and services;
  • Distributes contraceptives; and
  • Provides support services to all the units.


The Executive Director of the National Family Planning Board manages the operations of the Board on a day to day basis.

The Board of Directors provide advice for the strategic direction of the organisation.

 
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All Rights Reserved National Family Planning Board, 5 Sylvan Avenue, Kingston 5, P.O. Box 287,
Tele: 968 -1627, 968 - 1629, Fax: 968 -1626; email: jnfpb@jnfpb.org
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