The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
NEWS & VIEWS
Workshop participants learn about how innovative software models can be used to inform health policies and programs.
With a current population of about 1.2 billion people and continued population growth, India is expected to surpass China by 2030 and become the world’s most populous nation. India’s National Population Policy recognizes the need to address population growth, and the government has shown its commitment to expanding effective family planning and reproductive health services country-wide. Investment in family planning improves health outcomes, shapes a country’s growth rate, and strengthens the impact of other development initiatives in youth employment, education, training, and health.
HPP supports the government’s population policy by partnering to strengthen the capacity of health experts and institutions for evidence-based decisionmaking on policy options, decentralized health planning and programming, and financing for family planning and reproductive health. As part of this work, HPP is coordinating an initiative to develop an informal network of national and state level institutions that play a critical role in policy and programs on population issues.
During the April training, participants had an opportunity to learn about how software models can be used to inform health policies and programs. The attendees learned to use the innovative Spectrum suite of software models including DemProj, FamPlan, and Benefit-Cost Model. These models generate projections for requirements to reach national family planning goals to address the unmet need for family planning methods and influence changes in population growth. For example, the software can be used to compare the monetary cost of family planning programs with the economic benefits associated with lower levels of fertility. Such data can be used to inform decisionmakers who determine funding levels and allocate resources for family planning services.
HPP, a USAID-funded project, is working closely with several national-level institutions in India to strengthen the use of these tools to evaluate policy options and provide guidance for improved policy implementation at both national and state levels. The April training workshop was an important step in forging partnerships among this core group, which includes: the Institute for Economic Growth; National Institute of Medical Statistics (Indian Council for Medical Research); Institute of Health Management Research; Public Health Foundation of India; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh; National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIFHW); and Family Planning Cell, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Jharkhand.
Participants in the workshop also had the opportunity to practice advocacy skills. They presented the data analysis generated from the models, and experienced ways in which evidence can stimulate policy dialogue. They also discussed the importance of providing decisionmakers with a framework for understanding health policy issues and evaluating options, setting realistic goals, and facilitating program planning and decisionmaking.
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