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Knowledge Networking for Family Planning: The Potential for Virtual Communities of Practice to Move Forward the Global Reproductive Health Agenda

Keywords: Virtual Collaboration , Reproductive Health , Knowledge Sharing , Knowledge Networking , Community of Practice

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This paper highlights experience from five years of using virtual communication tools developed by the World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research (WHO/RHR) and its partners in the Implementing Best Practices (IBP) in Reproductive Health Initiative to help bridge the knowledge-to-practice gap among family planning and reproductive health professionals. It explores how communities of practice and virtual networks offer a unique low-cost way to convene public health practitioners around the world to share experiences. It offers examples of how communities of practice can contribute to the development and dissemination of evidence-based health information products, and explores the potential for online networking and collaboration to enhance and inform program design and management. The paper is intended to inform the reproductive health community, as well as others working in health and development, of the potential for using virtual communities of practice to work towards achieving common goals and provide some examples of their successful use.


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