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Vietnam's Population and Family Planning Program as Viewed by Its Implementers

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., Phan Thuc Anh, and Dao Xuan Vinh. 1995. "Vietnam's Population and Family Planning Program as Viewed by Its Implementers." South and East Asia Regional Working Papers no. 2

This report documents the views of Vietnam's Population and Family Planning Program implementers regarding the variety of problems that characterize the program. Most of the problems cited in the structured discussions relate to resource constraints. These include inadequate funding, poor equipment and facilities, insufficient quantity and quality of staffing, and deficiencies in Information, Education, and Communications (IEC) efforts. In addition, the implementers' impressions of less tactile problems suggest that there may be fundamental problems intrinsic both to the tenor of the program and the policies that guide it. In particular, there appears to be a strong emphasis on the generation of demand, a relative lack of attention given to clients' perspectives, and little recognition of the substantial potential for increasing contraceptive use through focusing on unmet need.

The current emphasis on demand creation is attributable to underlying -- and questionable -- assumptions about family size preferences. "Demand creation" is likely to detract from the quality of the Population and Family Planning Program and thereby hinder its ultimate success in reducing fertility rates. It may well be necessary to reconsider the basic program orientation as well as the allocation of resources for optimal achievement of the widespread practice of family planning and the effective voluntary limitation of family size.

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