The late Dr. Lenworth Jacobs and his wife, the late Beth Jacobs, were pioneers in bringing family planning services to Jamaica. In response to the Birth Control Movement started in the 1930’s, the Jacobs founded the St. Ann Welfare Organization with its aim “to raise the standard of family life in St. Ann and to study the various problems of population and to work together to try and solve those problems.” To address the public health needs relating to family planning, the Beth Jacobs Clinic opened in 1953 to provide much needed clinical family planning services to the community. Eventually in 1957, Jamaica Family Planning Association (JFPA) was started when these two family planning efforts were combined, thus enabling the organization to become affiliated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Western Hemisphere. JFPA was one of the first associations to become affiliated with IPPF and was their eighth member.
JFPA, since the beginning, was extremely active in its advocacy of family planning issues. Subsequently, in 1966, the Government established its first family planning unit under the Ministry of Health and this led to the formation of the National Family Planning Board in 1976. JFPA was instrumental and a key player in assisting the Jamaican government in making family planning a national issue and priority. The first executive director of the National Family Planning Board was Dr. Lenworth Jacobs.
Since this time, JFPA has continued to provide a range of family planning services and currently operates two clinics, the Beth Jacobs Clinic in St. Ann’s Bay and the Lenworth Jacobs Clinic in Kingston. JFPA remains a leader in providing quality sexual and reproductive health services, along with providing numerous youth programs and continued outreach, education and advocacy to the community.