Enhanced family planning activities in Ethiopia will continue with ministry support
FHI 360’s work on the Program Research for Strengthening Services (PROGRESS) project in Ethiopia improved family planning services in that country. The main objective of the project was to enhance monitoring and evaluation in family planning data collection and utilization. These enhancements enabled Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health to meet its family planning goals.
During the four years of the project, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), FHI 360 and the ministry had many successes, including the following highlights. (Read the final report for more details.)
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
The PROGRESS team provided training that included:
- Basic analysis and reporting of results
- Data entry and management
- Data quality assurance
- Design of a performance monitoring plan
- Interpretation of health monitoring information system indicators and their relationship to program results
After the trainings, FHI 360 worked with the trainees to develop individual action plans for specific activities to improve monitoring and evaluation at their worksites and provided refresher training. In total, we trained 637 people. The trainings not only helped individual health facilities and woredas, but also improved the quality of data being reported to the ministry.
The initial PROGRESS project established centers of excellence for family planning monitoring and evaluation in several woredas, and the continued PROGRESS project focused on expanding centers throughout Ethiopia. These sites served as decentralized teaching and learning facilities to build the capacity of regional, district and woreda staff to collect, analyze and use health data for programmatic decisionmaking.
To expand these centers to more regions, PROGRESS staff conducted baseline assessments of monitoring and evaluation activities at selected woreda health offices and health centers. The team then provided the new centers with essential equipment and supplies for the successful implementation of monitoring and evaluation activities, such as computers, printers, fax machines and office furniture. PROGRESS established 14 new centers, for a total of 41 centers in Amhara, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, Somali, Southern Nations Nationalities People and Tigray regions.
PROGRESS staff made presentations on the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices in Ethiopia at two international conferences: the American Public Health Association and the 4th Annual International Conference on Family Planning. In addition, the project provided support for a ministry staff member to attend the latter conference.
Working with the ministry, project staff conducted a study on the hormonal contraceptive implant Implanon. The study looked at when women were getting their implants removed and what barriers they faced. The major finding was that 17 percent of the women reported having their implant removed before the recommended three-year date, 61 percent had it removed on time and 21 percent kept it longer than prescribed. (Read the study.)
FHI 360 conducted several other assessments and evaluations on family planning for the ministry. One assessment explored the family planning needs of people with disabilities, their attitudes and behaviors toward modern family planning methods, and barriers to and opportunities in family planning services in Addis Ababa. This assessment included focus group discussions with people living with disabilities who were members of the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf-Blind, Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped and Ethiopian National Association of Intellectual Disability. (Read the full assessment.)
PARTNERSHIP AND COORDINATION
In addition to working closely with the Policy Planning Directorate and the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Directorate on the centers of excellence, training in monitoring and evaluation, and family planning evaluations, the project team also participated in the ministry’s technical working groups on family planning and health monitoring information systems.
The most important lesson learned from the project was that its success and sustainability were due to government participation at all levels. Securing the government’s participation proved beneficial when implementing and handing over the activities at the end of the project. Significantly, the government has committed to continue supporting the centers of excellence.