Delivering High-Quality Family Planning Services in Crisis-Affected Settings I: Program Implementation
Dora Ward Curry, Jesse Rattan, Jean Jose Nzau, Kamlesh Giria
Abstract: In 2012, about 43 million women of reproductive age experienced the effects of conflict. Provision of basic sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, is a recognized right and need of refugees and internally displaced people, but funding and services for family planning have been inadequate. This article describes lessons learned during the first 2.5 years of implementing the ongoing Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care in Emergencies (SAFPAC) initiative, led by CARE, which supports government health systems to deliver family planning services in 5 crisis-affected settings (Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Mali, and Pakistan). SAFPAC’s strategy focuses on 4 broad interventions drawn from public health best practices in more stable settings: competency-based training for providers, improved supply chain management, regular supervision, and community mobilization to influence attitudes and norms related to family planning. Between July 2011 and December 2013, the initiative reached 52,616 new users of modern contraceptive methods across the 5 countries (catchment population of 698,053 women of reproductive age), 61% of whom chose long-acting methods of implants or intrauterine devices. Prudent use of data to inform decision making has been an underpinning to the project’s approach. A key approach to ensuring sustained ability to train and supervise new providers has been to build capacity in clinical skills training and supervision by establishing in-country training centers. In addition, monthly supervision using simple checklists has improved program and service quality, particularly with infection prevention procedures and stock management. We have generally instituted a ‘‘pull’’ system to manage commodities and other supplies, whereby health facilities place resupply orders as needed based on actual consumption patterns and stock-alert thresholds. Finally, reaching the community with mobilization efforts appropriate to the cultural context has been integral to meeting unmet family planning needs rapidly in these crisis-affected settings. Despite the constraints in crisis-affected countries, such as travel difficulties due to security issues, in our experience, we have been able to extend access to a range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives, in such settings using best practice approaches established in more stable environments.
Delivering High-Quality Family Planning Services in Crisis-Affected Settings II: Results
Dora Ward Curry, Jesse Rattan,a Shuyuan Huang, Elizabeth Nozneskya
Abstract: An estimated 43 million women of reproductive age experienced the effects of conflict in 2012. Already vulnerable from the insecurity of the emergency, women must also face the continuing risk of unwanted pregnancy but often are unable to obtain family planning services. The ongoing Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care (SAFPAC) initiative, coordinated by CARE, has provided contraceptives, including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), to refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict-affected resident populations in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Mali, and Pakistan. The project works through the Ministry of Health in 4 key areas: (1) competency-based training, (2) supply chain management, (3) systematic supervision, and (4) community mobilization to raise awareness and shift norms related to family planning. This article presents data on program results from July 2011 to December 2013 from the 5 countries. Project staff summarized monthly data from client registers using hard- copy forms and recorded the data electronically in Microsoft Excel for compilation and analysis. The initiative reached 52,616 new users of modern contraceptive methods across the 5 countries, ranging from 575 in Djibouti to 21,191 in Chad. LARCs have predominated overall, representing 61% of new modern method users, but varied by country. The percentage of new users choosing LARCs was 78% in DRC, 72% in Chad, and 51% in Mali, but only 29% in Pakistan. In Djibouti, those methods were not offered in the country through SAFPAC during the period discussed here. In Chad, DRC, and Mali, implants have been the most popular LARC method, while in Pakistan the IUD has been more popular. Use of IUDs, however, has comprised a larger share of the method mix over time in all 4 of these countries. These results to date suggest that it is feasible to work with the public sector in fragile, crisis-affected states to deliver a wide range of quality family planning services, to do so rapidly, and to see a dramatic increase in the percentage of users choosing long-acting reversible methods.