7.15. Governments and the international community should use the full means at their disposal to support the principle of voluntary choice in family planning.

7.16. All countries should, over the next several years, assess the extent of national unmet need for good-quality family-planning services and its integration in the reproductive health context, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable and underserved groups in the population. All countries should take steps to meet the family-planning needs of their populations as soon as possible and should, in all cases by the year 2015, seek to provide universal access to a full range of safe and reliable family-planning methods and to related reproductive health services which are not against the law. The aim should be to assist couples and individuals to achieve their reproductive goals and give them the full opportunity to exercise the right to have children by choice.

7.17. Governments at all levels are urged to institute systems of monitoring and evaluation of user-centred services with a view to detecting, preventing and controlling abuses by family-planning managers and providers and to ensure a continuing improvement in the quality of services. To this end, Governments should secure conformity to human rights, and to ethical and professional standards in the delivery of family planning and related reproductive health services aimed at ensuring responsible, voluntary and informed consent and also regarding service provision. In-vitro fertilization techniques should be provided in accordance with appropriate ethical guidelines and medical standards.

7.18. Non-governmental organizations should play an active role in mobilizing community and family support, in increasing access and acceptability of reproductive health services including family planning, and cooperate with Governments in the process of preparation and provision of care, based on informed choice, and in helping to monitor public- and private-sector programmes, including their own.

7.19. As part of the effort to meet unmet needs, all countries should seek to identify and remove all the major remaining barriers to the utilization of family-planning services. Some of those barriers are related to the inadequacy, poor quality and cost of existing family-planning services. It should be the goal of public, private and non-governmental family-planning organizations to remove all programme-related barriers to family-planning use by the year 2005 through the redesign or expansion of information and services and other ways to increase the ability of couples and individuals to make free and informed decisions about the number, spacing and timing of births and protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

7.20. Specifically, Governments should make it easier for couples and individuals to take responsibility for their own reproductive health, by removing unnecessary legal, medical, clinical and regulatory barriers to information and to access to family-planning services and methods.

7.21. All political and community leaders are urged to play a strong, sustained and highly visible role in promoting and legitimizing the provision and use of family-planning and reproductive health services. Governments at all levels are urged to provide a climate that is favourable to good-quality public and private family-planning and reproductive health information and services through all possible channels. Finally, leaders and legislators at all levels must translate their public support for reproductive health, including family planning, into adequate allocations of budgetary, human and administrative resources to help meet the needs of all those who cannot pay the full cost of services.

7.22. Governments are encouraged to focus most of their efforts towards meeting their population and development objectives through education and voluntary measures rather than schemes involving incentives and disincentives.

7.23. In the coming years, all family-planning programmes must make significant efforts to improve quality of care. Among other measures, programmes should:

(a) Recognize that appropriate methods for couples and individuals vary according to their age, parity, family size preference and other factors, and ensure that women and men have information and access to the widest possible range of safe and effective family-planning methods in order to enable them to exercise free and informed choice;

(b) Provide accessible, complete and accurate information about various family- planning methods, including their health risks and benefits, possible side effects and their effectiveness in the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases;

(c) Make services safer, affordable, more convenient and accessible for clients and ensure, through strengthened logistical systems, a sufficient and continuous supply of essential high- quality contraceptives. Privacy and confidentiality should be ensured;

(d) Expand and upgrade formal and informal training in sexual and reproductive health care and family planning for all health-care providers, health educators and managers, including training in interpersonal communications and counselling;

(e) Ensure appropriate follow-up care, including treatment for side effects of contraceptive use;

(f) Ensure availability of related reproductive health services on site or through a strong referral mechanism;

(g) In addition to quantitative measures of performance, give more emphasis to qualitative ones that take into account the perspectives of current and potential users of services, through means including effective management information systems and survey techniques for the timely evaluation of services;

(h) Family-planning and reproductive health programmes should emphasize breast-feeding education and support services, which can simultaneously contribute to birth spacing, better maternal and child health and higher child survival.

7.24. Governments should take appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion, which in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning, and in all cases provide for the humane treatment and counselling of women who have had recourse to abortion.

7.25. In order to meet the substantial increase in demand for contraceptives over the next decade and beyond, the international community should move, on an immediate basis, to establish an efficient coordination system and global, regional and subregional facilities for the procurement of contraceptive and other commodities essential to reproductive health programmes of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The international community should also consider measures such as transfers of technology to developing countries enabling them to produce and distribute high-quality contraceptives and other commodities essential to reproductive health services, in order to strengthen the self-reliance of those countries. At the request of the countries concerned, the World Health Organization should continue to provide advice on the quality, safety and efficacy of family-planning methods.

7.26. Provision of reproductive health-care services should not be confined to the public sector but should involve the private sector and non-governmental organizations, in accordance with the needs and resources of their communities, and include, where appropriate, effective strategies for cost recovery and service delivery, including social marketing and community-based services. Special efforts should be made to improve accessibility through outreach services.

[Go to start of Document]