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Hawa Abdillahi

Hawa Abdillahi - 2016 Nominee
Position: PMNH+ Family Planning Project Manager
Organization: HealthRight International, Kenya Office
Fondly referred to as “Mama FP” by the community, Hawa is a dedicated, passionate nurse whose leadership increased FP uptake among marginalised women in rural Elgeyo Marakwet County by 24% in 2015. – Theresa Castillo, Director, Women & Children's Health Programs at HealthRight International
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

1. Implemented a community-based FP program in Elgeyo Marakwet, working with 500 trained CHWs and 10 health facilities. All CHVs have undergone clinical placement. After a competency assessment, 50 of 117 CHWs were declared CBD's and are now providing FP services at the household level.
2. Introduced a mobile phone inventory monitoring system for reporting stock outs of FP commodities and aid in redistribution among clinics. A total of 98,415 FP commodities have been ordered through the system.
3. Built facility staff capacity on long acting reversible contraceptives to promote method mix and increase uptake of FP. CPR has increased by 24% in the past 2 years.
4. Gained local community trust among religious leaders and men's groups who are now requesting FP education from our team.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Family planning programs have the capability of addressing most of the sustainable development goals, thus making it a high impact and cost effective approach. For the marginalized communities such as Elgeyo Marakwet county, which has 54 nurses/100 000 people, the unmet need for FP is great and access is a huge barrier. As a nurse, I feel compelled to advocate for a life saving intervention.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

FP through community-based distributors (CBD) was met with a lot of hesitation and mild resistance by the County Health Management Committees. Specifically, after the death of 2 babies following a community-based measles immunization campaign, there was heightened anxiety about having non-medical staff provide FP methods, especially injectables. This led to delays with program implementation, but through advocacy, sensitization and building in quality assurance for CBDs, we overcame this issue.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

There is a huge unmet need for FP, especially for adolescent youth. This can be addressed by developing youth friendly services. Kenya needs thorough and continuous sensitization on FP and service integration at all service points. In addition, a consistent supply chain of commodities by the medical supply agencies is necessary for securing FP services. Lastly, we must work together to strengthen quality improvement teams to ensure comprehensive FP care.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

The National Council for Population and Development-Kenya intends to increase CPR to 64.7% by 2020. Through our operations research, I am focused on our work with CBD's to inform policies at the National and County levels on the need to scale up Community Based FP. We must promote male involvement and create an enabling environment for provision of quality FP services to cater for the unmet needs. My hope is to be champion for FP and advocate for reliable FP access for all, in my country.

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