Titilola Adenrele and Temilade Adesina are Reproductive Health Managers for the Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA) in Lagos State, where they oversee reproductive health services provided in the LGA’s 34 public health facilities. They ensure policies regarding the provision of reproductive health services are implemented and quality services are provided at public facilities.
Before The Challenge Initiative (TCI) began supporting Lagos State in July 2021, LGAs like Alimosho had low contraceptive uptake because of weak demand generation activities and an inconsistent supply of consumables, which often resulted in out-of-pocket expenditures or user fees being charged to clients. Although family planning services are provided every day as routine services at health facilities, few clients sought those services.
With TCI’s support, the state determined that the root cause of this situation was a lack of demand generation activities to raise awareness about the benefits of family planning and available services. In addition, they found that a limited number of trained family planning providers were available to attend to clients who may want family planning counseling and services.
To remedy this, a combination of family planning in-reaches and social mobilization activities were recommended. TCI coached Adenrele and Adesin on how to conduct family planning in-reaches to ensure trained providers would be available on the day of the in-reach since it would be widely promoted via social mobilization activities taking place in the surrounding communities. According to Adesina:
Through the social mobilization activities, the number of women of reproductive age reached with family planning services available at our facilities has increased because of the megaphone that they [social mobilizers] use to educate the community members.”
Prior to holding a family planning in-reach, social mobilization activities are conducted at least two days before the in-reach, as well as during the days of the in-reach. Community-based social mobilization activities can provide accurate family planning information for eligible women, debunk myths and misconceptions, and refer interested clients to facilities for service uptake. Adenrele shared how social mobilization efforts are critical to not only the success of in-reaches but also ensuring the community is better informed about family planning as part of routine services.
Before days scheduled for in-reaches, social mobilizers go out to mobilize for the in-reaches and they have even extended the days for mobilization. I told them to tell the community that it is not only on in-reach days that we offer family planning services, but FP services can be accessed every day and for free too.”
Alimosho LGA started conducting in-reaches in August 2021 and has witnessed a significant uptake in family planning services in their facilities when comparing the 14 months prior to TCI engagement (April 2020 to June 2021) with the 14 months of engagement (from July 2021 to September 2022), as illustrated in the chart below.