As Program Manager for the Connect-Family project, a feasibility study that looking at the safety, quality and acceptability of task-shifting injectable contraceptives to community health workers I have worked very closely with Ministry of Health Officials to engage them in the research and build advocacy on policy changes. One of the key lessons that I have learnt and that I have been able to advocate for through my work, is the importance of active government engagement in research in order to fast-track and increase the chances of translation of knowledge and evidence-based practices into policy and programs. Without involving decision makers early on in the research and soliciting their opinions , a lot of the research conducted is not adopted into policy and practice
My passion for family planning is driven by my strong belief that investing in family planning can help to reduce the persistently high maternal mortality rates in my country. Also I am keen on understanding and trying to find solutions to the knowledge gap on why family planning uptake continues to be low in some countries despite women having knowledge of these methods.
The biggest challenge I have faced is translating research findings into a language that is understandable and acceptable to policy and decision makers. Engaging decision and policy makers from the initial stages of the research and at key milestones of program or research implementation has helped to build their buy-in, making advocacy efforts simpler and more collaborative.
My countries biggest challenge in the field of family planning is understanding what works to increase contraceptive uptakes for adolescents and young people. Even though there is a plethora of programs that focus on adolescents that have been implemented, many were not well evaluated to provide evidence on what works for this age group. Decision makers from Ministry of Health are keen to get evidence on what family planning methods and service delivery environments are preferred by adolescents
In the next five years would like to see that women and girls have access to quality family planning services and that they feel empowered to seek and demand services that work for them in-order to plan their families.
In the near future I hope to be at the forefront of designing and managing programs that work to improve family planning uptake for women and girls through innovative approaches that give them voice to their preferences and needs.