Collaboration between the Municipality and the Health System in Abomey-Calavi Leads to an Increase in FP Uptake
Contributors: Jean Firmin Nakoulma and Cheikh Diop
Before The Challenge Initiative (TCI) engaged with Abomey-Calavi, Benin, in March 2019, the municipality was not providing significant support to its health system. Under decentralization, oversight and management of the health sector was transferred to the municipality and the communities that it serves. But until TCI arrived on the scene, this support and the linkages between the municipality and health system had yet to be operationalized. TCI helped Abomey-Calvi establish two coordinating bodies to facilitate closer collaboration and improve family planning service delivery.
One of the first things the municipality learned through its engagement with the health system was that there were not enough midwives in the health districts of Abomey-Calvi. As a result, the health centers were often unable to provide family planning counseling and services, leading to many missed opportunities to sensitize women to family planning and address their unmet need for family planning.
The municipality provided financial support to recruit four midwives to be specifically trained to serve as coaches to health facility providers to ensure they are all able to successfully implement TCI’s high-impact service delivery interventions (HIIs). Kanfon Odette, one of the newly hired coaches and the obstetrical care manager at the Abomey-Calavi-Sô-Ava Health Zone, shared how this worked on the ground:
Right after recruitment, the midwives would spend at least one day a week in each health center to coach the providers at that health center on how to provide quality FP services through TCI’s HIIs. During this time, there was also a change in behavior at the population level because of TCI-supported demand generation activities through community coaching of religious leaders and community relays as well as mass media and social media campaigns. Pairing the demand generation activities with the improved quality of services being offered by coached providers, we witnessed the family planning indicators in the area skyrocketing. This would not be possible without the improved collaboration between the municipality and the health system.”
This improved collaboration, specifically the hiring of midwives to coach providers on a daily basis coupled with demand generation activities at the community level, led to increased family planning uptake. TCI’s HIIs have contributed to an additional 10,174 users accessing quality family planning services and a contraceptive method of their choice between March 2019 and December 2021.