Donor agencies' involvement in reproductive health: saying one thing and doing another?


The debates about what services constitute reproductive health, how these services should be organized, managed, and delivered, and what the role of donor agencies' support should be mirror the long-standing debates on how best to implement primary health care. After briefly reviewing the development of the discourse on primary health care and reproductive health, the authors present results of qualitative research in Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia that indicate a range of factors influencing and explaining the way donors operate in these countries and consider the implications of these results for the delivery of comprehensive reproductive health services. These findings are compared with South Africa, a country with limited donor activity. In the light of the complex interplay of factors, the authors suggest that donors' words and actions frequently do not correlate. Conclusions are drawn as to the potential for donor support for integrated reproductive health service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on the research to provide lessons and a reappraisal of the role of donors in health sector aid.


International Journal of Health Services (2005) 35(3) pp. 579-601. [DOI: 10.2190//K46B-RRXJ-95M4-JDGU]

Published 1 January 2005