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Stud Fam Plann. 1992 Jan-Feb;23(1):58-62.

A comparison of the performance of male and female CBD distributors in Peru.

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Population Council, Lima, Peru.


This report presents the results of an operations research project to increase male involvement in family planning in Peru. Two community-based distribution (CBD) programs, PROFAMILIA of Lima and CENPROF of Trujillo, Peru, recruited male contraceptive distributors and compared their performance to that of female distributors recruited at the same time. Both programs found it harder to recruit men than women as distributors. Program supervisors, who were women, were less comfortable with men than with other women, even though there were no differences in distributor compliance with program norms. Male distributors were more likely to serve male clients and sell male methods (condoms), while female distributors were more likely to serve female clients and sell female methods (pills). Men sold as much or more total couple-years of protection than did women, and they recruited as many or more new acceptors. Gender was found to exert an impact on method mix independent of other distributor characteristics, such as age, education, marital status, and number of living children. The study suggests that family planning programs can influence method mix and client characteristics by recruiting men as CBD distributors.


The findings of an operations research (OR) project designed to compare the effectiveness of male vs. female contraceptive distributors in Peru are reported. The OR project was conducted by 2 private, nonprofit family planning agencies that have community-based distribution (CBD) programs: PROFAMILIA in Lima and CENPROF in Trujillo. The OR project sought to test 3 hypotheses: 1) male distributors would sell more condoms and female distributors would sell more oral contraceptives; 2) male distributors would serve more male clients and female distributors would serve more female clients; and 3) male distributors would sell less contraceptive protection than female distributors. Between 1987 and January 1988, the 2 agencies recruited new male and female distributors to serve in the project. Both agencies had a more difficult time recruiting male than female distributors. PROFAMILIA recruited 38 men and 171 women, while CENPROF recruited 52 men and 94 women. All but one of the supervisors in both agencies were female. The supervisors generally regarded the male distributors with skepticism, but the study found no significant difference in the reporting compliance of male and female distributors. The project confirmed hypotheses 1 and 2. In both agencies men sold twice as many condoms as did women, and women sold more oral contraceptives; and male distributors were more likely to serve men, while female distributors were more likely to serve women. The 3rd hypothesis, however, was unsupported. Men sold as much or more contraceptive protection than did women and recruited as many or more new acceptors. It is concluded that men can be effective CBD distributors, and that CBD programs can influence method and client mix by recruiting more men as distributors.

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