Member Spotlight: FHI360

A SPOTLIGHT ON FHI 360

A 360-DEGREE APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE

For this month’s spotlight, the Self-Care Trailblazer Group is focusing on FHI 360, an international nonprofit working to improve health in over 60 countries worldwide. Learn more from Steering Committee member Holly Burke and the FHI 360 team. 
 

Tell us a bit about your organization!

FHI 360 is an international nonprofit working to improve the health and well-being of people in the United States and more than 60 other countries around the world. We partner with governments, the private sector, and civil society to bring about positive social change and to provide lifesaving health care, quality education, and opportunities for meaningful economic participation. We do this by using research and evidence to design and deliver innovative programs that change behaviors, increase access to services, and improve lives. 

Our mission is to improve lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions for human development.

Why do you consider self-care to be a vital part of health care systems? 

FHI 360 envisions a world in which all individuals and communities have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. Below are FHI 360’s four core beliefs that promote the achievement of this vision.  Under each, we provide an example of how self-care helps us put those beliefs into practice in the health sector.

  • A 360-degree perspective is required to address complex human development needs.

Self-care is a vital part of health care systems and a 360-degree approach, because it can expand options and create more equitable access to health care.  Ultimately this results in improved health and well-being for more people around the world.

  • Sustainability comes from building the capacity of individuals, communities, and countries to address their needs.

Self-care gives people more control over their health care, thereby helping to ensure that individuals’ needs and preferences are met. Greater satisfaction with health care will foster more sustained use.

  • The key to improving lives is in generating, sharing, and applying knowledge.

Self-care begins with awareness of one’s own health needs and of ways to access services, products, and information. As more people practice self-care, knowledge about self-care will spread, resulting in more people using this vital component of the health care system.

  • Partnering with governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, and communities leads to success.

Self-care can be inclusive of a variety of health sector partners to maximize access for and increase autonomy of individuals with varying needs and preferences.

How does FHI 360 believe self-care contributes to HIV and reproductive health care? 

Self-care contributes to improving services related to HIV, family planning, and reproductive health by increasing people’s access to health services and reducing the cost to the client. Self-care also increases individuals’ autonomy and control over their health, which has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-care helps to mitigate restrictions on movement and avoid disruptions in service.

Following are three examples of FHI 360’s work highlighting the important contributions of self-care to HIV and reproductive health care.

1. QuickRes.org online health services booking platform 

QuickRes.org is the first global app of its kind for online reservations and case management for health services. Clients in more than 10 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean can use their smartphones to book appointments and seek local health services (e.g., STI testing and treatment, family planning, and general health consultations) while maintaining confidentiality. The USAID- and PEPFAR-supported EpiC and LINKAGES projects have used the client-led online booking system and other online reservation apps to connect individuals to nearby health services with great success. These efforts have increased access generally, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video below demonstrates how clients can use the online reservation app.

Video: https://youtu.be/YBGfa3E-zpE

2. Self-injectable contraception 

For the past decade, FHI 360 has conducted critical research related to the self-injectable contraceptive method DMPA-SC. FHI 360 has led introduction and scale-up efforts in the public and/or private sectors of Afghanistan, Benin, Malawi, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia. When women are trained how to self-inject and provided enough doses to last for up to one year, they have the freedom to use the method at a private and convenient location of their choosing. Self-injection provides autonomy and control over one’s fertility—which is important for health, economic stability, and peace of mind, especially during a pandemic. The video below tells the story of the journey of self-injectable contraception from research to practice in Malawi. This film is based on the findings from the FHI 360-led randomized controlled trial in Malawi where self-injection was shown to significantly improve continuation compared to provider-administered DMPA-SC.

Video: https://vimeo.com/362811777

3. Contraceptive induced menstrual changes

Contraceptive-induced menstrual changes (CIMCs) can affect users’ lives in both positive and negative ways, resulting in both consequences and opportunities. FHI 360 is leading the way in understanding the impacts of CIMCs on users’ lives and exploring approaches to manage and take advantage of these, including through self-care. In November 2020, the Research for Scalable Solutions (R4S) and Envision FP projects, which are led by FHI 360 and funded by USAID, held a virtual technical consultation on CIMCs that convened experts in family planning and menstrual health to review evidence on CIMCs and discuss opportunities for incorporating these considerations into research, programs, policies, and product development.​ Meeting presenters were asked to consider self-care as a cross-cutting theme, and presentations included a wide variety of perspectives and stakeholders. One such presentation showed promising evidence on the use of a CIMC counselling tool called NORMAL, which is currently being adapted into a community-based version and can be used to support self-care.

To learn more about our work please visit www.fhi360.org

Please tag us using these handles:

  • @fhi360
  • @fhi360research
  • @R4Sproject
  • @ctiexchange

FHI 360 is also active on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.