In a variety of country settings, MCHIP works closely with community health workers (CHWs) to expand access to and uptake of postpartum family planning (PPFP) services. PPFP is a key mechanism for reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality and disability; however, unmet need for family planning remains high, especially for women in the year after childbirth.
In recognition of World Contraception Day on September 26th, the MCHIP Family Planning Team is facilitating an online conversation on “Social and Behavior Change Communication and Demand Generation for Postpartum Family Planning (PPFP): The Role of CHWs.” The conversation is running throughout the month of September on the CHW Central site, an interactive platform developed through the USAID Health Care Improvement Project that facilitates information sharing and dialogue about how to support CHWs who work in communities around the world.
Through the course of the conversation, MCHIP facilitators are sharing key programmatic approaches, resources, and lessons learned for working with CHWs on PPFP activities. In the opening submission, MCHIP facilitators shared key components of an integrated approach to providing PPFP services within communities. The Family Planning Team will detail how the approach has been adapted and implemented in a number of MCHIP countries in Asia and Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
MCHIP has been working with CHWs to provide information during pregnancy and after delivery about fertility return, return to sexual activity, and healthy spacing of the next pregnancy. During postpartum visits, CHWs may also provide counseling and distribute contraceptives, depending on the country context. CHWs, who generally reside in the same community that they serve, often have a unique ability to overcome social and cultural barriers to PPFP information and service provision, due to their understanding of the local context and trust placed in them by those they serve.
Key questions posed for discussion on the CHW Central site include:
How can institutions more effectively integrate PPFP with other maternal, newborn and child health activities at community level in order to reduce missed opportunities?
What are some strategies that can be used to help strengthen the link between the community and facility in delivering PPFP information and services? How can referral linkages in particular be strengthened to increase follow-through on FP referrals?
What are some strategies for effectively engaging partners, mothers-in-law, and other behavioral influencers around PPFP, especially in conservative settings?