Originally featured on the Research for Scalable Solutions (R4S) blog.
By Sarah Brittingham, Technical Officer, FHI 360, Lola Summer Flomen, Technical Learning Consultant, PSI and Kristen Little, Senior Technical Advisor of Strategic Research, PSI
IBP partners are using storymaps to visualize the trials and tribulations of a pandemic year in family planning.
Research for Scalable Solutions (R4S) is an implementation science project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that aims to increase the production and use of evidence to improve voluntary family planning (FP) programs around the world. Specifically, R4S focuses on generating evidence related to self-care and client-driven approaches for FP, the cost and cost-effectiveness of implementing high-impact practices (hips), and measuring and addressing equity within FP programs. Led by FHI 360 in partnership with Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa (EVIHDAF), Makerere University School of Public Health (Makerere SPH) in Uganda, Population Services International (PSI), and Save the Children, R4S works with a range of country-based stakeholders to strengthen research and research utilization capacity and to support countries in their journey to self-reliance. In this blog, PSI shares experiences and lessons learned as part of R4S-funded documentation of FP program adaptations made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We adapted how we work, how we interact, and how we do just about everything in 2020. Family planning is no exception. Across the globe, family planning programs are continually adapting to the austere circumstances of COVID-19. Lockdowns and social distancing make it difficult to continue activities as planned. Overburdened health systems suffer shortages of health workers, hospital beds, and supplies. Hesitancy to visit health facilities and lack of information among providers and clients alike are creating barriers to care. These are just a few of the challenges.