From the United States Agency for International Development

The practical, up-to-date guidance in this new handbook will help to improve the quality of family planning services and maximize people’s access to them. It can help family planning providers to assist clients choosing a family planning method, to support effective use, and to solve clients’ problems. Managers and trainers can use this book, too.

While this handbook covers many topics, 4 overall themes emerge:

  1. Almost everyone can safely use almost any method, and providing most methods is usually not complicated. Thus, methods can be made widely available and offered even where health care resources are quite limited. This book defines and explains the many opportunities for people to choose, start, and change family planning methods appropriately.
  2. Family planning methods can be effective when properly provided. For greatest effectiveness some methods, such as pills and condoms, require the user's conscientious action. The provider’s help and support often can make the difference, such as discussing common possible side effects. Some methods require the provider to perform a procedure correctly, such as sterilization or IUD insertion. Short of giving instructions on performing procedures, this handbook offers the guidance and information that providers need to support effective and continuing contraceptive use.
  3. New clients usually come for services with a method already in mind, and this is usually the best choice for them. Within the broad range of methods that a client can use safely, the client's purposes and preferences should govern family planning decisions. To find and use the most suitable method, a client needs good information and, often, help thinking through choices. This book provides information that client and provider may want to consider together.
  4. Many continuing clients need little support, and for them convenient access is key. For ongoing clients who encounter problems or concerns, help and support are vital. This handbook provides counseling and treatment recommendations for these clients.

With the collaboration of the World Health Organization and many organizations, many experts worked together to create this book. The United States Agency for International Development is proud to support the work of many of the contributors' organizations and the publication of this book, as well as to have participated in developing its content. Together with the providers of family planning who use this book, we all endeavor to make the world a better place.

James D. Shelton, MD
Senior Medical Scientist, Reproductive Health
Science Advisor, Bureau for Global Health
United States Agency for International Development

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