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PROGRESS Newsletter #7

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Kenya Ministry Launches Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan

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Almost two years in the making, Kenya's national family planning costed implementation plan has been officially launched nationwide by the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. Mentioned by Kenya's Minister of State for Planning at this year's London Summit on Family Planning, the ambitious new plan is expected to help the country increase its contraceptive prevalence from 46 percent to at least 56 percent by 2015. In 2011, the Ministry's Department of Reproductive Health formed a task force, coordinated by FHI 360 with PROGRESS support, to begin developing the plan. In anticipation of its official launch, the plan was disseminated to groups such as the Family Planning Technical Working Group and the National Council for Population and Development in Kenya. The full plan, which describes five key interventions to increase contraceptive prevalence and the costs that will be needed to implement them, is available here (PDF, 1.8 MB). For a summary of other PROGRESS work in Kenya, click here.

Family Planning Success Stories in Africa: Lessons Learned from Three Countries

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Ethiopia, Malawi, and Rwanda have achieved a much more rapid increase in contraceptive prevalence than any other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, the USAID Africa Bureau asked PROGRESS to help guide a project to determine how these three countries made such great strides in recent years. FHI 360 worked with the Ministries of Health and the USAID Missions in Ethiopia and Rwanda, and EngenderHealth did the same in Malawi, for this project. FHI 360 then synthesized the information into a report reviewed and endorsed by the Ministries of Health, who served as co-authors with USAID. The report, available here (PDF, 1 MB), compiles the data showing the country's successes, includes case studies on each of the countries, and synthesizes the material into five lessons learned. Representatives from the three Ministries presented initial findings from the case studies at an Africa Bureau meeting in Dakar, Senegal, just prior to the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning. PROGRESS Director Maggwa Ndugga also presented a synthesis of the findings, now summarized in the lessons learned section of the report. USAID officially launched the report with FHI 360 at the USAID "Mini-University" in Washington, DC, in September 2012.

Evaluation Finds Indian Initiative to Expand Contraceptive Access Promising

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Following a PROGRESS-supported evaluation, the government of India is moving toward national scale-up of a new initiative to improve contraceptive access via community health workers. The initiative addresses issues related to the supply chain and provides incentives to community health workers. Supplies go directly from the manufacturer to district-level depots to help avoid delays and stock-outs, and the community workers pick up these supplies and deliver them to the doorsteps of clients. Clients are charged a nominal fee, and the community workers keep a small portion of the fee to provide them an incentive for promoting family planning. The evaluation found the pilot to be promising, with 86 percent of the health workers saying it would work in the long term (with prices lower than in shops) and 75 percent of female beneficiaries being completely satisfied with the initiative. The evaluation identified challenges that need to be addressed before scale-up, such as differentiating the packaging of the supplies, which have a small fee, from the packaging of the free supplies that are available at government health facilities. (This will address the supply chain management issues and simplify the management information system.) A full report of the initiative is available here (PDF, 1.5 MB). For more information about other PROGRESS-supported projects in India, click here.

PROGRESS logo letter Number 7 • October 2012

Updates on PROGRESS Activities

African Nurses Endorse Task Sharing to Expand Contraceptive Method Mix

On September 4, 2012, the East, Central and Southern African College of Nursing (ECSACON) convened a symposium in Mauritius entitled "Reaching the Hard-to-Reach with Family Planning." It was held with support from the East, Central and Southern African Health Community (ECSA) Secretariat and in collaboration with FHI 360/PROGRESS. Kenya's chief nursing officer chaired the meeting, with more than 30 representatives from 11 ECSA member countries in attendance, including nursing council registrars and chief nursing officers. Presentations from Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, and Uganda highlighted task sharing of family planning services, including injectable contraception, with community health workers as an evidence-based approach for expanding the method mix at the community level. The symposium also emphasized the importance of nurses as the most appropriate professionals to be linked with community health workers to ensure quality of care through supervision and other services.

Successful Study Tour for Community-Based Access to Injectables in Rwanda

With support from PROGRESS, the Rwandan Ministry of Health hosted a four-day study tour of successful community-based family planning sites in Rwanda. Attended in September 2012 by delegations from Liberia and Zambia, the study tour was held so that implementing partners in Rwanda could help the delegations move forward in implementing community-based access to injectable contraceptives in their respective countries. After a successful pilot in Zambia, stakeholders there have taken first steps toward expanding the service but felt a study tour could help them understand this service approach better.

PROGRESS Research Contributes to World Health Organization Consultation on Postpartum Family Planning

New PROGRESS research findings, which were included in the July 2012 PROGRESS end-of-project meeting on postpartum family planning, contributed to the World Health Organization's September 2012 "Stakeholders Technical Consultation on Program Considerations for Postpartum Family Planning." Several of the organizers of the consultation had participated in the end-of-project meeting, and the director and deputy director of PROGRESS attended the consultation to make sure that relevant findings were incorporated into the group's decision-making. All participants in the consultation also received the end-of project research report, which is available here (PDF, 1.3 MB). To read about more PROGRESS work in postpartum family planning, click here.

Global Coalition Reviews PROGRESS Research on Pregnancy Tests

At the October 2012 annual membership meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, PROGRESS research results about the potential impact of free pregnancy testing — available here (PDF, 1.2 MB) — were reviewed by the coalition's "Caucus for New and Underused Reproductive Health Technologies." These new findings contributed to a decision to pursue pregnancy tests as one of the focus technologies of the caucus. Free pregnancy tests can help reduce barriers to same-day provision of family planning for women who are not menstruating.

PROGRESS (Program Research for Strengthening Services) is a five-year project awarded to FHI 360 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in June 2008. The project seeks to improve access to family planning among underserved populations by providing global technical leadership and working in selected countries. PROGRESS currently works in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in India.

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