Every day, women who have access to family planning (FP) services are empowered to make lifesaving choices such as delaying motherhood, spacing their pregnancies and avoiding unintended pregnancies and abortions. Each year, women who make these choices and plan their families prevent as many as one in every three maternal deaths and more than two million infant and child deaths.1 Yet, many more lives could be saved.
What Jhpiego Is Doing
By integrating FP with a variety of reproductive health (RH) services, Jhpiego has been able to bring modern contraceptive methods and other essential FP services closer to the women who need them. Jhpiego takes every opportunity to provide this essential information to all women who attend antenatal care, deliver in a facility, are referred for emergency care services or receive postnatal services.
- FP and postpartum care—Postpartum women need to know the advantages of timing and spacing their next pregnancy for their own and their baby’s health, and that it is possible to become pregnant before the return of menses. If they are not breastfeeding, their fertility may return by six weeks after childbirth. In Kenya, with the support of Jhpiego’s ACCESS-FP Program, the government reinvigorated postpartum care services by emphasizing FP. Through ACCESS-FP, more than 11,700 women have received immediate postpartum visits that included FP counseling and services.
- FP and postabortion care—A woman’s fertility can return within two weeks after an abortion or miscarriage. So, it is essential that women who receive postabortion care leave clinics with modern contraceptive methods and FP information. By providing FP counseling and appropriate contraceptive methods at the time women receive postabortion care services, providers can help women avoid the dangerous cycle of unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
- FP and cervical cancer screening—Of all cervical cancers, 83% occur in the developing world. Integrating simple, single visit cervical visualization and treatment technologies with existing FP programs can have a major impact on women’s health in developing countries. And alternatively, integrating FP with existing cervical cancer screening programs can further expand women’s access to crucial services.
- FP and HIV counseling and testing—Clients who seek HIV counseling and testing (HCT) services and clients who seek FP services are often the same people, and they are often women. Clients, providers and programs can all benefit from the synergies of these two types of services. For example, by averting unintended and high-risk pregnancies among HIV-positive women, FP reduces mother-to-child transmission of HIV.We work with key stakeholders to develop FP counseling messages and job aids for HCT service providers. Using these tools, providers can tailor FP services to be sensitive to HIV clients’ specific needs.
- FP and child health care—Women who do not seek postnatal care for themselves can be reached during well-child visits. By providing an integrated package of care during well-child visits—adding information about FP options and breastfeeding—we can reach women who might otherwise miss this opportunity to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
Essential Components for High-Quality FP/RH Service Delivery
The quality and availability of FP/RH services depend upon up-to-date, evidence-based national policies, guidelines and standards. In addition, the delivery of high-quality FP/RH services requires a stable infrastructure that supports pre-service education and in-service training. These systems, in turn, produce and sustain a strong health workforce. Jhpiego works with in-country partners to ensure that these components are in place and are strengthened and updated.
Another RH Focus: Cervical Cancer Prevention (CECAP)
Each year about 493,000 new cases of cervical cancer occur and approximately 274,000 women die from this disease. However, unlike many cancers, cervical cancer can be prevented. In collaboration with stakeholders and partners, Jhpiego pioneered the single visit approach (SVA)—a unique, medically safe, acceptable and effective approach to cervical cancer prevention for low-resource settings. The SVA consists of visual inspection using dilute acetic acid (VIA) to detect precancerous lesions on the cervix, followed by the offer of treatment using a freezing technique (cryotherapy) during the same visit.
- 1Population Reference Bureau. 2009. Family Planning Saves Lives. 4th Edition.
- 2 ACCESS-FP, a five-year, USAID-sponsored global program, was an associate award under the Jhpiego-led ACCESS Program. ACCESS-FP focused on meeting the family planning and reproductive health needs of women in the postpartum period.