Planning & Management of Reproductive Health Programmes (RH)

Important notice: the structure of this short course is being reviewed. Soon new short courses will be published and opened for application. The description below, although it gives an indication, is no longer valid.
The Short Course in Planning and Management of Reproductive Health Programmes is a 10-week course for health professionals and researchers involved in reproductive health programmes, including HIV/AIDS, STI, family planning and maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries.
The course wants to contribute to better prevention and better reproductive health management by supporting programme managers in their key functions: formulating a reproductive health policy and implementing and evaluating a reproductive health intervention programme.
The course not only draws on the ITM’s comprehensive expertise in health systems management and in health problems such as HIV/AIDS, STI & maternal health, but also builds on the rich exchange of experience between students from many different regions.

Mode of study

This course (component) is organized :
- Face-to-face (Antwerpen)

Learning Objectives

After completion of the course, participants should be able to:
  • Assess the importance of a comprehensive range of sexual and reproductive health problems and their main determinants at national and local levels.
  • Critically appraise alternative intervention strategies in sexual and reproductive health based on evidence and contextual elements
  • Prioritise and formulate specific intervention strategies related to sexual and reproductive health within the framework of an existing health system and social context
  • Plan the implementation of those intervention strategies considering the existing health system’s organisation; the actors involved including the beneficiaries, the available resources; human rights and gender aspects
  • Monitor and evaluate sexual and reproductive health programmes
  • Communicate and negotiate with actors in an effective way


The main focus of the course is on technical and managerial aspects of sexual and reproductive health. Students receive an update on the scientific evidence on specific sexual and reproductive health problems and explore how a programme should translate this scientific evidence into context-adapted prevention and control strategies. The course also provides conceptual frameworks and tools for the management and evaluation of sexual and reproductive health programmes. The community dimension, inter-sectorial collaboration and international initiatives as well as gender and human rights are cross-cutting issues in all modules. Application of analysis to the participant’s own working context is stressed.
The course includes 5 thematic modules:
Focuses on diagnostic strategies, scaling-up of ART and PMTCT, prevention targeting vulnerable groups, HIV/TB co-infection. Particular attention is given to the analysis of the HIV epidemic, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), health systems strengthening and human rights.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Focuses on diagnostics and treatment, including a syndromic approach, elimination of syphilis, HPV and cervical cancer, and interventions for sex workers. Particular attention is given to the development of guidelines and the scaling-up of interventions.
Family planning and unsafe abortion
Focuses on contraceptive methods, unsafe abortion, post-abortion care, gender and sexuality. Particular attention is given to the writing of a technical note, to advocacy and policy dialogue, to commodity security and to M&E.
Maternal and neonatal health
Focuses on maternal mortality and morbidity, neonatal health, female genital mutilation and on quality of maternal and neonatal care. Particular attention is given to critical reading of scientific papers, evidence-based interventions, the analysis of strategic documents and M&E.
Integrated sexual and sexual and reproductive health services
Focuses on integrated services and interventions for youth and to links between programmes. Particular attention is given to financing mechanisms, the analysis of strategic documents and M&E.
The course also includes 2 methodological modules structured around personal assignments that are evaluated:
Project Formulation
The module follows the different stages of a Project Management Cycle:
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Problem analysis
  • Objective and strategy analysis
  • Construction of a Logical Framework for selected strategies
  • Operational plan
  • Monitoring and evaluation
Evaluation proposal of a sexual and reproductive health intervention/project/programme
The proposal includes:
  • Situation analysis
  • Development of an intervention logic explaining the underlying theory of change
  • Formulation of a relevant evaluation question
  • Definition of an appropiate design and evaluation methods
  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching consists of interactive lectures, small group sessions followed by plenary presentations and discussions, coached individual work and presentations of posters/seminars related to the personal assignments. In addition, preparatory and further reading is required. Exchange of experience is essential in the learning process. There is a strong emphasis on case studies prepared by staff or fellow students. All teaching material, including theme-specific readers are distributed to the participants via an online platform.


Assessment is based on two individual assignments: a project formulation presented in a poster format and an evaluation proposal of a sexual and reproductive health programme presented in a seminar.
The mark for the project formulation assignment counts for 40% of the final mark (70% for content/methods and 30% for format).
The mark for the evaluation proposal assignment counts for 60% of the final mark (70% for content and 30% for communication).
In case of failure one re-sit is allowed.

Admission requirements

This course is intended for health professionals and researchers involved in or responsible for sexual and reproductive health programmes.
Admission criteria are:
  • A university degree in health sciences or a professional bachelor in nursing sciences or midwifery
  • A minimum of 2 years of relevant experience in sexual and reproductive health programmes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Proficiency in the course language: candidates who are not native speakers of the course language or whose language of instruction during higher education is not the same as the course language, must provide proof of language proficiency by a certificate from a recognized institution. Required level for English: TOEFL paper-based 580, computer-based 230, internet-based 88 or IELTS 6.5

Selection criteria

  • Number of years and relevance of professional experience
  • Academic record (grades)
  • Motivation
  • References
  • Relevant additional training (a degree of Master in Public Health or equivalent is an asset)


This course (component) is accredited by :


Course Leader: Marie Laga
Coordinator (s): Thérèse Delvaux
Secretary: Nadine Nuyts
Tel: +32(0)32476309


The course study load is equivalent to 15 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System credits).