SSMJ 6.4 - Resources


Maternal Health and Family Planning

Facts for Family Planning: A New Tool for Family Planning Knowledge and Awareness

Facts for Family Planning is a new publication that presents a comprehensive collection of key information and messages for anyone who communicates to others about family planning. This booklet is a helpful resource for project staff who wants to increase their knowledge and awareness for family planning and will help to ensure that family planning messages are accurate and reflect the most current and updated information. 
Containing 10 easy-to-read chapters on important family planning topics such as delaying first pregnancy, spacing pregnancies, understanding fertility, and family planning methods, with special chapters focused on unmarried youth and HIV/AIDS, Facts for Family Planning can be a useful tool for counselors, social workers, community health outreach workers, teachers, religious leaders, or others working in developing country settings. Furthermore, program directors and managers can use this information as a guide in the development of training materials, communication messages, and other program-related activities.
You may download individual chapters or a complete PDF of all chapters. To order single and multiple print copies, email [email protected] or fill out the order form.


Review of Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries

This review found moderate evidence that community health workers are effective in delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries.
Evidence suggests several strategies that should be explored, including combining hygiene education with breastfeeding interventions with the prospect of reducing diarrhoea rates in infants, using visual aids, which can be left with the mother as educational tools, and specifically targeting health messages. Variations in interventions, training and outcomes make it difficult to compare all included studies, however some important findings emerged from this research:
- Community health workers are effective at increasing acceptability of mother-performed practices, such as skin-to-skin care and exclusive breastfeeding.
- Community health workers are capable of providing interventions beyond their traditional scope and with more intense training, such as those of a psychosocial nature or delivering scheduled intermittent preventive treatment for malaria. 3. - Community health workers are effective in delivering health promotion or education, especially with simple, targeted messages. The use of visual aides may also be very valuable in relaying these messages.
Reference: Brynne Gilmore & Eilish Mcauliffe. Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 2013, 13:847 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-847
[from HIFA 2015]


National, regional, and global rates and trends in contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning between 1990 and 2015: a systematic and comprehensive analysis

Expansion of access to contraception and reduction of unmet need for family planning are key components to improve reproductive health. This study estimated and projected indicators of contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning from 1990 to 2015.

Using data from from nationally representative surveys, for married women aged 15—49 years, it was found that the worldwide, contraceptive prevalence increased from 54·8% in 1990 to 63·3% in 2010, and unmet need for family planning decreased from 15·4% in 1990 to 12·3% in 2010. In 2010, 146 million women had an unmet need for family planning. The absolute number of married women who either use contraception or who have an unmet need for family planning is projected to grow from 900 million in 2010 to 962 million in 2015, and will increase in most developing countries.

Ref: The Lancet, Online Publication, 12 March 2013. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62204-1



Malaria Conference in Durban

According to WHO 2010 statistics, malaria caused an estimated 660 000 deaths with 95% of these occurring in Africa. Together DR Congo and Nigeria, Africa's most populous nations, account for more than 40% of the global deaths.

Although some countries are moving towards malaria elimination, this background statistic was in the minds of researchers at the 6th Multilateral Initiative in Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference in held Durban in October. They said that control and surveillance efforts need to be sustained to prevent a resurgence in malaria cases and deaths. Speakers pointed out that malaria elimination requires major changes in thinking—to include targeting of asymptomatic carriers of sub-microscopic parasite densities, and strengthening surveillance. Sharing available data and tools, using limited resources better, and networking are crucial to malaria elimination.




Neurology in Africa

A downloadable, free book by William Howlett, 2012 is at It is also available in the open research archive BORA.


Evidence Based Health Care Newsletter

Produced by the International Society for Evidence Based Health Care - see