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AFRO-NETS> News from the Johns Hopkins Population Information Program
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> News from the Johns Hopkins Population Information Program
- From: "Stephen M. Goldstein" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 15:05:08 -0500 (EST)
News from the Johns Hopkins Population Information Program
New Research Documents - Success of Johns Hopkins GATHER Counselling
for Family Planning
New research finds that the 6-step GATHER approach to counselling leads
to more satisfied family planning clients, more clients choosing family
planning, and clients using family planning longer. The findings coin-
cide with publication of a new Johns Hopkins Population Information
Program (JHU/PIP) 'GATHER Guide to Counselling' - an updated and ex-
panded version of the widely used Population Reports counselling guide.
The acronym GATHER stands for Greet, Ask, Tell, Help, Explain, and Re-
turn. Family planning providers throughout the developing world have
used GATHER to remind themselves of these six steps in counselling.
GATHER was introduced in the quarterly journal Population Reports in
1988. Since then JHU/PIP has distributed over a quarter million copies
of the counselling guide in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Other countries have adapted and translated GATHER. In Nepal, for exam-
ple, GATHER was translated into Abhibadan, which means "gracious wel-
come." The syllables in Abhibadan stand for the same good counselling
elements as in GATHER.
"Everyone acknowledges the importance of counselling," says Douglas
Storey, Ph.D., a Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
(JHU/CCP) researcher who evaluated the use of GATHER counselling in Ne-
pal. "But we now have evidence that the more GATHER elements are used,
the more likely that clients will adopt or continue using a family
JHU/CCP researchers interviewed over 1,000 family planning clients in
Nepal who had visited a clinic within the past six months. "Unsatis-
fied" or "non-committed" clients reported only experiencing an average
of 3 or 4 elements of the 6-part GATHER process. By comparison, "satis-
fied" or "completely satisfied" clients reported that the health care
worker used an average of 5 or 6 GATHER elements during their counsel-
"We also found that certain GATHER elements were more likely to result
in satisfied clients," says Storey. "For example, satisfied clients
were more likely to report that the provider had Greeted them and made
them feel at ease, Asked them about their opinions and concerns, and
Helped them to make a decision or reassured them about their concerns."
Use of GATHER also encouraged both adoption and continued use of family
planning. Storey's team found that clients were more likely to adopt a
method if the provider had helped the client to make a decision, ex-
plained how to use the method, and asked the client to return for an-
other visit-the H, E, and R steps in GATHER. Women were more likely to
be continuing users of family planning if, during their most recent
visit to a provider, they were greeted and made to feel at ease, they
were asked about their opinions, and concerns, and they received expla-
nation of their questions about family planning. For them, the most im-
portant GATHER elements were Greet, Ask, and Explain.
The new 32-page, colour-coded guide includes the latest medical eligi-
bility criteria for each contraceptive method developed by the World
Health Organisation and other international experts. Each GATHER ele-
ment has its own 2-page pull-out chart for display or quick reference.
The guide also includes suggested training exercises and discussions,
examples of dialogue that counsellors can adopt, and a checklist for
providers to rate themselves on each GATHER element.
The GATHER Guide to Counselling was prepared by Ward Rinehart, MA,
Sharon Rudy, Ph.D., and Megan Drennan, MPH. Population Reports is an
international review journal of important issues in population, family
planning, and related health matters. It is published four times a year
in four languages by the Population Information Program at the Johns
Hopkins Center for Communication Programs for more than 170,000 family
planning and other health professionals world-wide, with support from
the US Agency for International Development (USAID). If you would like
to order previously published Population Reports or to add your name to
the mailing list go to:
for ordering information.
* Also available from the Johns Hopkins Population Information Program
a slightly revised reprint of 'The Essentials of Contraceptive Technol-
ogy: A Handbook for Clinic Staff'.
The handbook answers the questions family planning providers in devel-
oping countries face every day. Built on the consensus of experts from
around the world, The Essentials of Contraceptive Technology, promises
to become a standard reference in clinics throughout the developing
The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA), and the United States Agency for international Development
(USAID) have endorsed the handbook. More than 70 experts and staff of
WHO and USAID helped prepare and review the book.
With support from USAID, JHU/PIP is distributing more than 300,000 cop-
ies of the new handbook, free of charge, to family planning programs in
English-speaking developing countries. Spanish and French-language and
possibly other editions will follow. The handbook includes a chapter on
each major family planning method, from combined oral contraceptives to
the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (based on breast-feeding).Each chap-
ter organises information in standard sections for easy reference.
Other chapters cover family planning counselling and sexually transmit-
ted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
For ordering information go to:
USAID administers the US foreign assistance program, providing economic
and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries world-wide. For
more information contact:
Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
111 Market Place, Suite 310,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202, USA.
For further information about the Johns Hopkins Center for Communica-
tion Programs, please visit our web site at:
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