Journal Article

Fundamental elements of the quality of care: A simple framework

This article argues for attention to a neglected dimension of family planning services—their quality. A framework for assessing quality from the client’s perspective is offered, consisting of six parts (choice of methods, information given to clients, technical competence, interpersonal relations, follow-up and continuity mechanisms, and the appropriate constellation of services). The literature is reviewed regarding evidence that improvements in these various dimensions of care result in gains at the individual level; an even scarcer body of literature is reviewed for evidence of gains at the level of program efficiency and impact. A concluding section discusses how to make practical use of the framework and distinguishes three vantage points from which to view quality: the structure of the program, the service-giving process itself, and the outcome of care, particularly with respect to individual knowledge, behavior, and satisfaction with services.