The Challenge Initiative (TCI) supports the implementation of proven, high-impact family planning interventions (HIIs) by strengthening the capacity of city governments. In India, TCI holds “mini university” (mini-u) workshops where cities more experienced in implementing HIIs share their transformative effect with less experienced cities. When the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) and family planning (FP) stakeholders in Jharkhand learned about these learning opportunities, they organized a joint mini-u workshop in November 2023 with PSI India to disseminate HIIs throughout the state.
Dr. Birendra Prasad Singh, the Director in Chief of Health Services in Jharkhand, invited TCI’s team from Uttar Pradesh (UP) to share their experiences and lessons learned from implementing HIIs as UP has been supported by TCI since 2018. The workshop included city officials from the TCI-supported cities of Ranchi, Bokaro, Deoghar, Dhanbad and East Singhbhum, as well as 17 cities not supported by TCI. Also in attendance were NUHM representatives and family planning stakeholders, including the Director in Chief (Health Services); the State Nodal Officers for the NUHM, Family Planning, and IEC; the NUHM’s State Program Manager and the State Coordinator- Family Planning. The workshop also sought to support and prepare TCI master coaches by facilitating knowledge acquisition from experienced coaches in high-performing cities.
During the workshop, Dr. Ranjit Prasad, NUHM’s State Nodal Officer, highlighted the need to build staff capacity to meet increasing urban population demands, while Dr. Pushpa, the State Nodal Officer for Family Planning, advocated for focusing on reversible family planning methods, postnatal family planning, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. In addition, Dr. Lal Manjhi, the State Nodal Officer for IEC, urged workshop participants to engage fully and learn best practices from the experienced cities.
A special session on learning and takeaways from implementing TCI’s HIIs was conducted by Master Coach Dr. Jaskaran Singh Gangwar, an Additional Chief Medical Officer from Amroha, and Ahsan Ali, a District Urban Health Coordinator from Uttar Pradesh. They provided examples illustrating the successful implementation of HIIs in UP and discussed the potential for adopting similar strategies in Jharkhand.
Using UP as an example, Dr. Jaskaran highlighted how PSI India helped implement HIIs in the State and emphasized the importance of departmental convergence for success. Ali explained the referral mechanism and stressed the need for managers and coordinators to take responsibility.
Jharkhand city officials expressed curiosity about the strategies employed in UP to overcome challenges and enhance service quality. Their conversation covered topics such as the scarcity of skilled professionals, the role of fixed day services (FDS) in addressing the manpower crisis, the provision of intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) services at the UPHC level, the referral system, service convergence and coordination among different departments.
The mini-u prompted the NUHM to request TCI coaching and implementation of FDS in neighboring non-TCI-supported cities.