Increasing Visibility of Available AYSRH Services in Public Facilities within Tanga City, Tanzania
Contributors: Mary Joseph and Denis Sama
When The Challenge Initiative (TCI) began supporting the local government in Tanga, Tanzania, the team quickly realized they needed better strategies tailored for young people if they wanted to increase the uptake of contraceptive services among this younger cohort. After much coaching and orientation of health providers, the data showed improvements mostly among those older than 25, so attracting young people became a priority.
During various rounds of the Reflection and Action to Improve Self-reliance and Effectiveness (RAISE) Tool supported by TCI, the city health management team noted that health providers had been coached on youth-friendly services, but the number of young people receiving services at the facility were still quite low. They discussed and agreed that one of the action steps to address this challenge was to encourage more integration and enhance whole-site orientation for all facility staff. In addition, the team realized that facilities should be branded to indicate the availability of youth-friendly services, especially for young adults who are hesitant to ask about service availability out of fear or other reasons.
The city health management team shared these action steps with leadership and together they advocated for funds to support the branding of facilities with relevant messaging. The Ministry of Health at national level also provided a technical review of all the content developed by the city management team. Dr. Shabir, the In-charge of Kisosora facility, said the signage changes were working, sharing:
Now, we are receiving a number of questions from clients concerning sexual and reproductive health, even in other sections like the outpatient department (OPD) compared to before. This shows that the signage itself is communicating a message to our clients.”
As a result of these efforts, 10 health facilities have been branded. Along with the branding, the facilities have implemented TCI’s high-impact in-reach approach coupled with targeted youth mobilization efforts, which led to a 62% increase in young people visiting the facilities for family planning information and services in just one month, from December 2020 to January 2021 (Figure1).
This clearly demonstrates how Tanga City has been able to address its challenges head-on by implementing various TCI high-impact approaches and tools and ultimately reach more women and men with available contraceptive services, both youth and older adults (Figure 2). The city has demonstrated how simple interventions can have a tremendous effect on family planning uptake.