A source of innovation.

D. G. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1992, the USAID Population Assistance Program turned 25 years old. The program is noteworthy for being the largest of all national government programs with a current annual budget of $300 million, having wide support from the US congress and public, developing a wide variety of experts in many areas of family planning (FP), and developing and relying upon a strong infrastructure of private sector agencies. The agency has been instrumental in injecting competition into government service, using market methods, providing for choice among service providers, and investing and not just spending money. The important lessons learned over the years are identified. 1) Products, services, and information can be generated through the private sector, which was supported by USAID. The International Planned Parenthood Federation was one of the 1st to receive grants. 2) The commitment of the private sector to FP is shown in its achievement of goals, not on rules and budgets. The willingness of staff to work for low pay levels exemplifies the depth of commitment. 3) The private sector sometimes can be and often has been a source of innovation and experiment. Examples of this creativity are evident in the development of Norplant by the Population Council and RAPID computerized illustration of the impact of future population growth by the Futures Group. 4) Healthy competition and expansion of government resources can be generated through the contribution of expertise and specialization in the private sector. Grants have been distributed to private groups for delivery of FP services, management skills, training, survey research, operations research, contraceptive development an clinical testing, communication, and evaluation. 5) Use of the private sector, particularly the commercial sector, in providing services has meant a shared cost for services and less cost for taxpayers. 6) USAID has funded projects for FP services through place of employment or union, which has proven to be cost effective. The basic objective of the USAID program is to provide assurances that informed decisions and FP choices to satisfy personal needs are possible for all individuals and families in the developing world. Government policies and the efforts of private agencies to inform, service, and supply largely determine the success in FP adoption. With fewer government resources, the role of the private sector becomes very important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalIntegration (Tokyo, Japan)
Issue number34
StatePublished - Dec 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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