In Their Words: Strengthening Capacity in Busia, Uganda, Leads to Quality Family Planning Services

by | Nov 29, 2018

In Their Words is a series of testimonials from those working with or benefitting from The Challenge Initiative.

Justine Muwanguzi is a Nursing Officer for Midwifery in Busia Municipality in Uganda.

Justine describes what it was like in Busia before The Challenge Initiative (TCI) arrived. 

“The uptake of family planning services in Busia Municipality has been very low and it was not a priority health service. There were so many health workers without knowledge and skills in LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives), implying that they would miss many clients. We had only eight health workers from three out of the seven health facilities who were able to provide long-acting family planning methods. In my health facility, I was the only one who could provide family planning methods and so if I were not around, no one would attend to the patients. Luckily, the demand for family planning at that time was very low among the patients visiting the health facilities. The municipality was not actively collecting and reporting family planning data to DHIS2 [National HMIS Database] because it was not important.”

The Challenge Initiative begins implementing in February 2018.

“In late February 2018, TCI came on board to help us strengthen our family planning services. After we signed the FAA (fixed amount award), some people were trained as trainers of trainers (ToTs). The ToTs trained other health workers and VHTs (village health teams) on various family planning methods. So far, about 30 health workers from six health facilities have been trained on TCI family planning approaches. We have also conducted whole-site orientations, integrated outreaches, supportive supervision and data cleaning.”

Justine explains what has happened since implementation began.

“The TCI program has awoken the staff (health workers) and VHTs to get engaged in family planning activities. There is now improved capacity and more facilities providing family planning services. Service providers (up to 80%) are now skilled and can provide LARCs in all the six selected health facilities. There are many referrals from the trained VHTs. The quality and uptake of family planning services has greatly improved. To date [July 2018], we have about 170 new acceptors and about 60% of these are for LARCs, especially implants. We are planning to scale up the family planning services in Busia since they are now on demand.”

She describes how TCI has impacted her as an individual.

“TCI has improved my family planning skills. Although I was previously trained, I feel refreshed. I am updated and I have learnt how to do things differently and own the process [for updating others]. I am relieved because when I am away, there is now someone to attend to the patients at my health facility. Therefore, when the clients come, all other staff attend to them and this has improved clients’ satisfaction and continuity.”