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Financial Times Examines Integration Of Family Planning, HIV Services In Ethiopia

The Financial Times examines efforts by “Ethiopian policymakers, faced with a rapidly expanding population and rising numbers of HIV/AIDS infections,” to integrate family planning into HIV counseling and testing programs in the country. “When counseling women on reproductive health or child immunization, family planning clinics can also discuss HIV testing and prevention, particularly condom use, as well as introducing pregnant women to mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention services,” the newspaper notes.

Though “[i]nternational donors acknowledge the need for more integrated services, … experts say policy rhetoric on integration is not always matched by practices on the ground,” the Financial Times states. Funding guidelines, “political sensitivities,” “logistical factors,” stigma, and “[s]ocial and cultural preconceptions can also hamper integration of family planning and HIV prevention and treatment services,” the newspaper notes. “However, all agree that these barriers need to be overcome, not least because of the mounting cost of delivering health care services globally. In this respect, the Ethiopian example demonstrates great potential, since only modest incremental investment was required to integrate family planning into HIV/AIDS programs,” the newspaper writes (Murray, 7/7).