BioScience Trends. 2008;2(1):15-21.

A social marketing approach to quality improvement in family planning services: a case study from Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Gulzar J, Ali M, Kuroiwa C


In the 1990s, social marketing approach was introduced in Pakistan to improve the quality and accessibility of family planning methods involving private practitioners. This study measured six quality elements using a Bruce-Jain framework. Cross-sectional survey data were collected from 29 randomly selected Green Star clinics. The study's four components were 1) an inventory of each outlet (infrastructure, equipment, and supplies); 2) an observation guide for interaction between family planning clients and service providers; 3) exit interviews with clients attending the outlet; and 4) interviews with providers at the outlet. Of the 29 clients participating in the exit interviews, 72% were new users of family planning. The clients' mean age was 32 years; all clients were married; 93% had received formal education. Housework was the principal activity of 93% of clients. The mean number of children reported was three. Both hormonal and intrauterine contraceptives (IUCDs) were available in all facilities; 86% of the clients reported being able to obtain their contraceptive of choice. Most facilities had the equipment and supplies needed to deliver services; service personnel were trained and regularly supervised; the service outlets emphasized mechanisms to ensure continuity of use. Notable shortcomings included a shortage of information on alternative methods, contraindications, and side-effect management, as well as a dearth of registration records. In conclusion, this is a good example of public-private partnership involving private practitioners using a social marketing approach. The quality components of a Bruce-Jain framework were achieved, resulting in a satisfied clientele. Involvement of private service outlets increased the accessibility and enhanced the use of services. Social marketing may be expanded to improve quality and access by involving further components of health care.

KEYWORDS: Social marketing, Public-private partnership, Private clinics, Family planning, Pakistan

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