Planning for Survival  


Ivan Darío Lobo

Raul Sanabria

Roberto Gutiérrez


Universidad de los Andes Colombia

Published in


A private nonprofit, Colombia’s Asociación Probienestar de la Familia Colombiana (Colombian Families’ Welfare Association) -Profamilia, for short- was created in 1965 by Dr. Fernando Tamayo Ogliastri, M.D., to disseminate family planning practices among low-income population groups. Reaching out to a neglected market, Profamilia became a pioneer in its field. Starting in the 1980s, it has played a leadership role at the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). In time, Profamilia’s impact grew, as the organization became stronger and broadened its scope to focus on sexual and reproductive health. In the early 1990s, Profamilia stated its mission as “disseminating family planning, sexual and reproductive health programs to make them both accessible and known to Colombia’s population, especially underprivileged groups, providing superior quality service and fully abiding by individuals’ and couples’ rights as per current constitutional laws.” After four decades, Profamilia continued to offer sexual and reproductive health services to Colombians at 35 centers in 31 Colombian cities, serving adults and teenagers over 13 years of age.

In mid 2003, Profamilia was challenged to redefine its strategy, as changes swept the domestic healthcare sector as a result of Act 100, sanctioned in 1993, which turned Colombia’s centralized public and private healthcare systems into a public-private free competition scheme for health services. This reform brought new organizations to compete directly with Profamilia, and the organization gradually lost its monopoly in Colombia’s family planning product and service landscape. As a result, Profamilia’s market share dropped. While the organization prepared somewhat successfully to deal with the changes brought about by this new law, specializing its business areas, creating new departments, redesigning its cost-revenue scheme, and revamping its service style, Profamilia’s top management spotted critical sector shifts that called for some strategic changes.

This case may be used in courses on business or organizational strategy for social enterprises. More generally, it can prove useful in courses focusing on the links between organizational goals and strategies formulated to pursue those goals, taking into account environmental restrictions.