246743 Advocacy for Women's Health and Family Planning in the Dominican Republic: Fostering Democratic Processes at the Municipal Level

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:24 PM

Hannah Fortune-Greeley, MPH , Futures Group, Durham, NC
Maria Griselda Lloveras Castera, MBA, MA , Health Policy Project, Futures Group, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Maria Rosa Garate , Futures Group - Peru, Lima, Peru
Mary Kincaid, DrPH, MS , Iris Group, Chapel Hill, NC
This project strengthened the capacity of individual and collective policy champions at the municipal level, engaged decisionmakers, and promoted local investment in women's health and family planning (FP) in four underserved Dominican municipalities.

Health care system decentralization and recent municipal law reform in the Dominican Republic have created openings for increased advocacy at the local level. While many community leaders and authorities are actively interested, both sectors require further training in order to engage in policy dialogue around health and local development.

The project targeted civil society leaders as advocates for FP and women's health in their communities. A key element of this process was the creation of local advocacy networks linking leaders from historically excluded groups and building alliances with non-traditional allies in family planning. In each of four pilot sites, national policy champions trained local networks in participatory advocacy and policy dialogue methods. Then each local network identified priority advocacy topics, engaged in policy dialogue with local authorities, and held local forums for authorities to discuss women's health and FP needs in their communities.

Authorities in three of the four municipalities publicly expressed commitment to working with civil society groups to increase local level programming and funding for FP and women's health.

The training materials and advocacy plans should serve as a guide for other municipalities to work on local advocacy efforts. The policy champions will continue in the second phase of the project—completing participatory plans and budgeting on family planning and women's health programs.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the possibilities for civil society participation in municipal health planning in the DR, as a result of municipal law reform. Articulate processes for engaging civil society in municipal advocacy and local authorities for women’s health in the DR.

Keywords: Family Planning, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I provided technical guidance during the process, and have been working in women's health in the Dominican Republic for almost 10 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.