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  • The 1994 ICPD intensified the worldwide focus on reproductive health policies and programs. Officials in many countries have worked to adopt the recommendations in the ICPD Programme of Action and to shift their population policies and programs from an emphasis on achieving demographic targets for reduced population growth to a focus on improving the reproductive health of their population. This paper presents information from case studies carried out in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Jordan, Ghana, Senegal, Jamaica, and Peru to assess each nation's process and progress in moving toward a reproductive health focus. The case studies show that within their unique social, cultural, and programmatic contexts, the eight countries have made significant progress in placing reproductive health on the national health agenda. All countries have adopted the ICPD definition of reproductive health either entirely or in part. Policy dialogue has occurred at the highest levels in all countries. The countries have also achieved considerable progress in broadening participation in reproductive health policymaking. Bangladesh, Senegal, and Ghana have been particularly effective in involving NGOs and civil society organizations in policy and program development. In some of the other countries, however, the level of participation and political support for reproductive health may not be sufficient to advance easily to the next crucial stage of implementation. The case studies indicate almost uniformly that countries are grappling with the issues of setting priorities, financing, and implementing reproductive health interventions. Bangladesh has made the greatest progress in these areas while India, Nepal, Ghana, Senegal, Jamaica, and Peru are beginning to take steps toward implementation of reproductive health activities. Jordan continues to focus primarily on family planning. Several challenges face these countries as they continue to implement reproductive heath programs. These challenges include improving knowledge and support of reproductive health programs among stakeholders; planning for integration and decentralized services; strengthening human resources; improving quality of care; addressing legal, regulatory, and social issues; clarifying the role of donors; and maintaining a long-term perspective regarding the implementation of the ICPD agenda. Despite many encouraging signs, limited progress has been achieved in actually implementing the Programme of Action; this finding is neither surprising nor unexpected. It took more than a generation to achieve the widespread adoption and implementation of family planning programs worldwide, and that task is far from complete. The key to continuing progress lies in setting priorities, developing budgets, phasing-in improvements, and crafting strategies for implementation of reproductive health interventions.