Tulane’s Jane Bertrand Unveils DRC Family Planning Website
Dr. Jane Bertrand and her team have recently launched a first-of-its-kind website on family planning in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of a project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bertrand is the Neal A. and Mary Vanselow Professor and chair ofn the department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
This innovative website is designed to give easy access to all aspects of family planning programming in the DRC as part of building the evidence base for family planning in three francophone countries covered by the project. Similar websites are under construction for Burkina Faso and Mali. It allows potential donors to better understand “who is doing what, where,” as well as providing practitioners in country with valuable information on all aspects of program implementation (such as how contraceptives flow into the country).
One particularly novel aspect is a series of interactive maps of sites in the capital city of Kinshasa, based on a survey recently completed under the project. The sites are plotted on a Google Earth map with icons indicating by shape and color the type of facility and level of service offered. By clicking on the site, the user can learn if the site has at least one person trained in FP, if it provides at least three contraceptive methods, and if has a system to generate program statistics.
The site contains a wealth of other information: the history of FP in the DRC, cultural barriers to FP, marketing materials for promoting FP, government documents and journal articles dating back to the 1970s (which can be downloaded from the site), as well as findings from surveys on family planning spanning 30 years. The Tulane SPHTM has a long history in the DRC, and several alumni contributed to the development of this website: Frank Baer, Nelly Dikamba, Patrick Kayembe, Miatudila Malonga, and Larry Sthrestley. In New Orleans, MPH candidate Jacqueline Hellen and staff member Maria Carolina Herdoiza worked with a Lafayette-based company Compugistics to bring this website into operation.