Onsite Mentorship and Coaching Improves Access and Uptake of Quality Family Planning Services in Tanga City
With support from The Challenge Initiative (TCI), locally referred to as Tupange Pamoja, Tanga City in Tanzania managed to strategically embark on a vigorous mentorship and coaching program under the supervision of Ester Kimweri, the city’s Reproductive and Child Health Coordinator (CRCHCo). Kimweri noted that facilities in her city had few skilled providers for multiple family planning methods, so they often opted for simple, less time-consuming procedures.
With the help of TCI, we were able to conduct an assessment to find the gap and the solution because we noticed that in many facilities there were methods that were mostly provided and those which were less provided to clients. We were able to plan together and later conducted a series of mentorship and coaching to service providers aiming at increasing number of providers with skills and knowledge on provision of at least two modern contraceptive methods.”
Since TCI began in Tanga in March 2019 until June 2020, a total of 47 health care providers were mentored and coached on counseling and provision of various modern contraceptive methods. To date, Tanga City has recorded an increase in number of health care providers able to provide variety of family planning methods from one to two or three in all 20 TCI-supported facilities in Tanga City. Lightness Mbaga, a mentor and service provider at Ngamiani health center, explained how this change affected her workload:
Here we are two providers in family planning section, but my colleague was not able to provide all of the methods. After she underwent a series of mentorship and coaching sessions, she is now able to provide all methods except IUCD and permanent methods. Our health facility here at Ngamiani is a very high-volume facility in Tanga City and before it was a burden for me to accommodate a huge number of clients.”
With the help of TCI, mentorship and coaching has resulted in an increase of new family planning uptake clients. TCI has contributed to a 48% uptake in LARC users since implementation started in March 2019 and overall annual client volume has increased by 41%.*
As a result of integrated outreaches, the number of providers mentored on LARC services has also helped increase LARC uptake at the facility and in the community through outreaches.
Onsite mentorship – a TCI high-impact intervention – is now part of the government policy of moving away from centralized classroom-based training for in-service health workers to onsite training during service provision. This approach does not disrupt routine health service delivery in the facilities and enables the learner to practice their clinical skills and become more competent.
* Source: Health Management Information System. To prevent overestimation of short-term methods, the HMIS data was adjusted using standard “couple-years of protection,” (CYP) which is the total estimated protection provided by contraceptives in a one-year period. To account for seasonal variations, the data represents a 12-month average for short-term methods and a 12-month rolling sum for long-term.