Quality of Care in China: Scaling Up a Pilot Project into a National Reform Program



China's family planning program ranks as history's most intensive effort to control national population growth. Although advocates for global population control have lauded China's effort to limit births as a fundamental part of its sustainable development goals, the country's population policy has also generated much international criticism. As China enters the new millennium, a long-overdue reform of its approach to implementing its family planning program has begun to refocus the program on clients' needs, informed choice of contraceptives, and better-quality services. Originally inspired by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, the reform program began as a pilot project among six counties and has now become a blueprint for reorienting the national family planning program. This article reviews the process by which a small, innovative pilot project was scaled up into a national reform effort and the key lessons learned about scaling up sensitive but necessary innovation in a difficult political environment.