My greatest achievement in family planning has been the prioritization of the program by Government. Since the HIV epidemic ravaged South Africa; NGOs, donors and government efforts all geared towards mitigating the effects of the virus.Hence, family planning was not prioritized. However through my on-going efforts and advocacy highlighting challenges regarding the FP program; the program is under government’s the radar. Through my support new contraceptive guidelines that include new long acting methods were approved and launched in 2013 and a comprehensive FP training manual was developed to ensure that health care workers are trained on the new methods. To date approximately 5,000 health care workers have been trained.
Working as technical advisor for one of the NGO, I noted that FP is not prioritized as one of the prevention strategies. And again working in my current position, I realized that SA is also experiencing very high teenage pregnancy rates. Therefore, I took a keen interest in supporting government to improve the uptake of FP especially among young people and improve quality of services. Women and men have a right to choose when to have babies and FP services are key.
The biggest challenge was to use data for program improvement. current our data system use couple year protection rate as the indicator, and it is very difficult to track new acceptors and those that are lost to follow up. I am working with a consultant to develop a tool that can track the indicator, but include at least new acceptors to track if demand creation efforts are making a difference in the uptake of services.
The biggest challenges are lack of education and community myths around family planning exacerbated by inadequate counseling of clients by health workers. These could be addressed engaging the community about family planning, providing good quality counseling and open and honest communication by both the health care works and the clients. media and social media education initiatives around FP. The quality of services should be also improved to ensure clients are satisfied with services.
Increase family planning uptake- CYP from 60- 80%
Ensure that integrated school health services provide SRHR services including FP services
Develop a system to monitor the uptake of FP services and to guide health facilities to use data to monitor quality improvement initiatives.