Emergent Phase (1930s to 1966)
Family Planning Services were first available in Jamaica in the 1930s through the efforts of a number of committed individuals. In the 1950s, services were strengthened when social work associations and interest groups collaborated and established the Jamaica Family Planning Association. In 1963, the Government of Jamaica officially recognised problems associated with population growth and the need for family planning. Consequently, the Government initiated services in selected hospitals, and established a special unit in the Ministry of Health (MOH) to give direction to and cooperate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Bureau of Health Education, which began providing educational materials and training for family planning, enhanced these initiatives..
Development Phase (1967 to 1980)
In 1967, the GOJ created the National Family Planning Board (NFPB). Throughout the 1970s, Family planning gained greater visibility and importance for Jamaica’s development agenda. The NFPB, empowered by the National Family Planning Act (1970), became the Government agency responsible for preparing, implementing, coordinating, and promoting family planning services in Jamaica.
The 1970s were also landmark years for programme implementation: Family Life Education (FLE) teacher training workshops began, a scheme for the commercial distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives (Panther and Pearle) was initiated, and mass media (radio, television, billboards, and print) became an important information dissemination channel for launching the “Two Child Family” campaign. In 1974, the GOJ officially integrated family planning services with the MOH primary health care programme, thereby greatly increasing the number of health centers offering family planning. By the end of the decade, an island-wide network of family planning clinics was operating and birth rates had decreased from 34 per 1,000 in 1970 to 28.