The effects of setting up a National Family Planning Program in local communities on women’s contraceptive experiences and fertility in rural Thailand

It is widely documented that Thailand’s National Family Planning Program (NFPP) has been successful in increasing contraceptive prevalence and reducing fertility. In this paper, we investigate to what extent setting up the NFPP between the mid 1960s and the early 1990s in local communities per se has added to this success. For this, we use data from the 1992/93 Survey on the Status of Women and Fertility in Thailand (SWAFT). We find that presence of the NFPP in a community is associated with less than two percentage points higher proportion of women with contraceptive experience at ages 15–19, to about six percentage points higher proportion at ages 35–39, and with about a 3 per cent lower completed fertility. Although these associations are relatively small, they are significant and may suggest that setting up the NFPP in local communities per se has been important for a small group of hard-to-reach women with unmet contraceptive needs.

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