Top 5 Family Planning Articles of 2019

from Global Health: Science and Practice

By Ruwaida Salem

This post summarizes the top 5 family planning articles of 2019 from the Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP) journal, based on readership.

We’ve rounded up the top 5 family planning articles of 2019 from the Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP) journal. GHSP is our no-fee, open-access journal dedicated to advancing knowledge on what works (and doesn’t) in global health programs. These are the articles that most caught our readers’ attention this year.


Donors and others have expressed concerns that countries may have purchased too many contraceptive implants in their efforts to improve access to long-acting methods. Procuring more implants than needed would have resulted in overstocks and wastage. This study looked at data from nine countries to assess how accurate orders were between 2010 and 2017. 

Of the nine countries included in the study: 

  • Three came close to purchasing accurate quantities (Ethiopia, Pakistan, and an anonymized country)
  • Four had not ordered enough (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania)
  • Two had ordered too many (Uganda and another anonymized country)

The study showed that rapid increases in implant orders generally did not result in overstocks.

Authors: Akhlaghi, Heaton, and Chandani

June 2019 issue | Original Article

Woman working in recycling field in Dhaka, Bangladesh

A woman works at a recycling field in Dhaka, Bangladesh. © 2018 Badal Sarker, Courtesy of Photoshare


 This study evaluated the effect of automated interactive voice messages promoting contraceptive use among women in Bangladesh who had undergone menstrual regulation. The intervention did not increase contraceptive use, but the main focus of this article was to explore the effects of the intervention on intimate partner violence (IPV). The researchers took precautions to minimize risk of harm, such as letting the women listen to a sample message at enrollment and asking them if receiving similar messages on their phone was acceptable to them. Still, the intervention appeared to have an unintended consequence of increasing self-reported IPV. When women were asked about such violence using a direct, closed-ended question that named specific acts of violence, 11% of participants in the intervention group reported physical violence during the 4-month study period compared with 7% of those in the usual care group. When asked using an open-ended question—”Did anything happen to you as a result of you being in this study? Good or bad?”—there were no differences between groups. 

The study highlights the need to take into account possible negative impacts when designing and evaluating mHealth interventions. It also suggests that direct, closed-ended questions should be used to measure IPV instead of open-ended questions.

Authors: Reiss, Andersen, Pearson, et al.

September 2019 issue | Original Article

CHW in Uganda discusses FP choices with clients

A community health worker in Uganda refers to a wall chart to discuss family planning options with her client. 

© 2016 Laura Wando, WellShare International Uganda, Courtesy of Photoshare


The Method Information Index (MII) measures the quality of contraceptive counseling. It ranges from 0 to 3 based on a client’s answer to whether her provider told her about other methods, potential side effects, and what to do if she has side effects. Little is known, however, about its association with method continuation rates. Using data from nearly 2,000 social franchise clients in Pakistan and Uganda, this study investigated the relationship between reported baseline MII and the risk of method continuation over 12 months. The study found that baseline MII scores were positively associated with method continuation rates.

Learn more about the Method Information Index

Authors: Chakraborty, Chang, Bellows, et al. 

March 2019 issue | Original Article


IBP round table discussion about FP tools
IBP members participate in a round table discussion about new family planning and reproductive health tools during the IBP Regional
Meeting in New Delhi, India, in February 2018. © Sarah V. Harlan, CCP


The Sustainable Development Goals and other global health initiatives have recognized the importance of collaboration and partnership for moving their agendas forward. But what does strong collaboration and partnership look like? This commentary explores achievements of the Implementing Best Practices (IBP) initiative. Created in 1999 with support from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the United Nations Population Fund, the IBP Initiative is an example of a longtime partnership dedicated to supporting the dissemination and use of evidence-based family planning and reproductive health guidelines, tools, and practices. The commentary also discusses how partners can leverage IBP to achieve global development goals. 

Authors: Thatte, Cuzin-Kihl, Velez May, et al.

March 2019 issue | Commentary

Couple with their infant in Nigeria

A couple with their infant, from Karu village on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, discuss their journey to family planning use. © 2012 Akintunde Akinleye/NURHI, Courtesy of Photoshare


Provider bias can sometimes be a barrier to providing family planning clients a broad choice of contraceptive methods, but it must be clearly defined and understood to be effectively addressed. At nearly 3,000 full-text accesses since its publication just three short months ago, this review provides an overview of what provider bias in family planning is, how widespread it is, its underlying causes, and how it can be effectively addressed. The authors propose coming to agreement on a clear definition of provider bias as a starting point to measure the problem and the effectiveness of interventions to address the problem. Their proposed definition, “attitudes and subsequent behaviors by providers that unnecessarily restrict client access and choice, often related to either client and/or contraceptive method characteristics,” summarizes common themes from the literature they reviewed. 

Authors: Solo and Festin

September 2019 issue | Programmatic Review & Analysis


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