The Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) has been commended for its invaluable contribution to national development for the last 60 years.

Speaking at a function to mark its diamond jubilee recently, Health Minister John Boyce noted that one of the primary objectives of the Association when it was established in 1954 was to reduce the country???s birth rate.

He said it sought to improve the quality of life of Barbadians by helping them to determine the number and appropriate spacing of children through family life education and contraceptive services.

???The quality of life enjoyed by Barbadians and its social development indicators are by and large a fitting testimony of the dedication and relentless efforts of the Barbados Family Planning Association,??? the Health Minister said.

He submitted, however, that today???s women had more control over their sexuality and fertility and the demographic profile of Barbados now showed a trend towards falling fertility rates and falling birth rates.

???It is therefore incumbent for the Barbados Family Planning Association to understand and develop new strategies for this changing dynamic,??? he stated.

Mr. Boyce said he was pleased to note that the Association had developed a marketing plan and agenda geared towards the rebranding of its image, an intensification of marketing efforts for its products and services, as well as investment in new products and services.

Noting that it was essential for reproductive services to be integrated into the primary health care system, he revealed that Barbados??? polyclinic system, in conjunction with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the BFPA, offered a full sexual and reproductive health package. Services include counselling, diagnostic testing and therapeutic interventions.

Government???s annual subvention to the BFPA totals $500,000.

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