Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB) and Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) win 500,000 USD three year Family Planning Grant.
The proposed program will be conducted in two countries; Kenya and Uganda (Kenya being a Packard Foundation priority country). It will be conducted in a phased approach in order to enable the two participating Christian Health Associations (CHAs); the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) and the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB)—to strengthen the capacity of church-run health facilities to develop and implement quality family planning (FP) programs at larger scale, attract yet unreached clients and improve rural health services that influence the health of women and children. Introduction of this project in two countries will provide an opportunity for comparison of what capacity building activities are most effective in strengthening FBO networks to provide FP.
Learning from previously successful projects such as the World Bank-funded community –based FP project in Maua and Chogoria hospitals in Kenya, the Uganda Child Spacing Program (UCSP) and on-going Packard foundation sponsored family planning projects in Kenya and Uganda, the project will focus on:
- Step 1: Conducting an analysis of FP capacity gaps that can be addressed by the CHAs. The analysis will include capacity of health workers in CHA facilities, as well as other religious and community leaders who can potentially create or increase demand for FP. The analysis will explore other variables that influence underutilization of FP and identify existing supply chain strengths and gaps for the required commodities. The analysis will also include a review of the level of family planning services being provided currently at each facility as part of establishing the baseline FP capacity. (Anticipated time frame for Step 1: project months 0-6)
- Step 2: Based on the findings from the analysis completed in Step 1, an FP capacity building strategy will be designed to equip facility-based health workers and community health workers (CHWs) to offer FP, supervisors to offer on-going supportive supervision to CHWs, and religious leaders to increase contraceptive acceptance and continued use throughout their communities. During this step, reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will be established and implemented, building on and improving on existing data collection systems wherever possible. (Anticipated time frame for Step 2: project months 6 – 12 )
- Step 3: Implement and monitor service delivery of FP, including on-going supervision and strengthening of FP skills for both facility-based health workers and CHWs in participating sites, strengthening linkages between the facility and community with continuous exchange and learning between Kenya and Uganda. (Anticipated time frame for Step 3: project months 12 – 36)
- Step 4: Documenting the performance, process, lessons learned and disseminating them broadly between the two participating countries and among the broader ACHA Platform members and partners. (Anticipated time frame for Step 4: months 18 – 36)
- Step 5: Negotiations and identification of new sites/countries for scale-up of activities and institutionalization among ACHA Platform member secretariats. (Anticipated time frame for step 5: months 30 – 36)
CHAK Secretariat and the ACHA Platform staff will manage the in-country programs and will work with its partners Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) and the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University (IRH). CCIH and IRH will collaborate with ACHAP and the country programs to provide technical assistance, support in designing and developing informational materials, training curricula, contraceptive logistics and evaluation tools.
Project activities will increase local capacity by:
- Developing a core group of trainers who will continue to support FP capacity building and mentorship and will improve overall health service integration;
- Addressing basic FP myths and misconceptions as well as strengthening links between the community and health facilities to increase demand and use of a full range of FP methods, including those requiring referral to clinic facilities. Services will focus particularly on the needs of poor rural communities;
- Implementing monitoring and evaluation systems for program management and documentation of results; and
- Institutionalizing a model of client centered FP service delivery to enable CHAK, UPMB and ACHA Platform members to access resources to further strengthen FP services in their member networks.
It is anticipated that this project will support the expansion of FP access and choices; through integration of FP provision into the repertoire of existing health workers such as those already working in HIV, Child Survival, Maternal Health etc. FBOs can extend FP access to the poorest and most remote communities in Africa where they tend to establish and sustain health programs over long periods of time. FBO networks of health facilities can effectively link health and values of the faith community to the benefits of FP for preventing unintended pregnancy, improving maternal and child health and reducing abortion. Community members view religious leaders as credible sources of information and CHAs can encourage support for FP within the context of spiritual life in ways that secular organizations cannot.
By demonstrating ability to increase FP use in the communities they serve, CHAK through its leadership role of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform will position CHAs as important partners within the reproductive health community and enable them to be better advocates for increased FP support with their governments and donors.