The International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 led to an upsurge in interest in implementing reproductive health (RH) programs worldwide. The urgency to act has led to the development of disparate activities in several developing countries including India. While programs have been growing in numbers, their quality is in question. A fundamental problem has been lack of capacity at all levels of the health service system to respond to the paradigm shift articulated by the advocates of the reproductive health and rights agenda. To redesign programs, considerable research must be undertaken to understand the health needs and sociocultural factors that affect the health of women, men, and young people. Growing concern for women’s health, scarcity of reliable data on RH problems, and lack of trained social scientists to undertake high-quality research relevant for policies and programs led to the development of this project. This report discusses how strengthening social science research capacity was initiated and evolved, and provides valuable insights and important lessons for future endeavors to strengthen capacity in India and other developing countries.
Khan, M.E., Bella C. Patel, and John Townsend. 2001. "Strengthening social science research on women's health. Lessons learned from a capacity building programme." New Delhi: Population Council.