Supporting Community Health Workers in Becoming Family Planning Champions in India
Contributors: Deepti Mathur and Lisa Mwaikambo
Community health workers can improve an individual’s access to healthcare and use of family planning services. Depending on one’s culture, husbands, male relatives, community and religious leaders, parents and mothers-in-law can strongly influence the value systems of those around them.
The support of these health workers can be crucial for women and men – particularly young women and men – to understand their reproductive health and rights and increase demand for contraceptives and other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Advocacy efforts aimed at gatekeepers can enhance community support in promoting a safe and supportive environment for family planning, which in turn allows for effective demand generation activities that not only provide those interested with family planning information but also link them to quality services.
Through the coaching and mentoring approach, The Challenge Initiative for Healthy Cities (TCIHC) in India identified a number of champions who play a key role in the health system, such as Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs).
As champions, they ensure a positive interaction between the community and the facility which in turn guarantees that those who seek services are satisfied with the information and services that they receive. This has prompted a number of satisfied family planning clients, referred to collectively by TCIHC as Sarita, in becoming champions as well, where they now share family planning information with their families and friends and provide referrals to urban service delivery points.
Please watch the videos below featuring an ANM, an ASHA, a CMO and family planning client named Santoshi to find out more about these four champions and their work.