Current estimates show an unmet need for family planning that reaches 215 million women in the developing world today. To respond to this need, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a centrally funded project, called Support for International Family Planning Organizations (SIFPO).
The project will provide support to PSI and Marie Stopes International (MSI) to build their capacity in family planning services and programming.
The purpose of the project is to increase the use of family planning services globally through strengthening selected international family planning organizations that have a global reach and an extensive, multicountry network of family planning clinics. PSI’s vision under SIFPO is to enhance scale-up of high-quality family planning service delivery. Working through its 21 social franchise clinic networks, PSI will expand contraceptive choice to include long-acting and permanent methods. SIFPO core funds as well as field-based funding will support efforts to develop local leaders who will scale up family planning services through social franchising and gender-sensitive programming.
One of these leaders is Dr. Milly Kaggwa from PACE, PSI’s affiliate in Uganda. Dr. Kaggwa provides support to PACE’s large family planning program that delivered an estimated 14,200 intrauterine devices (IUDs) and 7,800 contraceptive implants in 2010. According to UNICEF data, the total fertility rate in Uganda in 2009 was 6.3 children per woman, down slightly from 7.1 in 1990. The PACE family planning program team helped to avert approximately 45,600 unintended pregnancies and provided 153,000 couple years of protection (CYP) through its family planning program in 2010. A CYP is the estimated protection provided by contraceptive methods for one year to a couple.
In March, Dr. Kaggwa was one of six PSI reproductive health specialists who attended a SIFPO-funded training in Washington, D.C., on techniques for coaching and mentoring local staff in quality assurance and quality improvement of family planning programs. In the past, PSI has used outside experts (mainly from the U.S. and Europe) to provide quality assurance audits and quality improvement planning to field programs. The training program greatly increased PSI’s internal capacity in quality assurance auditing.
Referring to the PSI quality assurance audit training, Dr. Kaggwa said, “It was a great opportunity to learn from other PSI staff and to build my skills in providing quality assurance support to not only my program but also other PSI programs.” Dr. Kaggwa also noted the importance of service delivery programs. “Family planning service delivery programs fill a gap by providing long-acting and reversible methods such as IUDs and implants, which increases contraceptive options available to women and the likelihood that they will choose a method that they can easily adhere to.”
– By Christine Bixiones, Senior Associate Technical Advisor, Sexual, Reproductive Health & TB, Washington, D.C.