TCI Continues to Reach Urban Poor in Nigeria with Family Planning Information and Services During COVID

by | May 8, 2020

Since Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19 on February 28, the country has witnessed an exponential increase in cases spanning 35 of its 37 states, including the Federal Capital Territory. The virus is now present in all 11 TCI supported states, with a total of 3,526 cases confirmed as of May 7. TCI is contributing to fighting the spread of the virus by providing technical assistance to its supported states to design, develop and disseminate appropriate COVID-19 sensitization messages integrated with family planning activities.

To accomplish this, TCI is working through its existing platforms and structures such as the Interfaith Forum, Advocacy Core Groups (ACG) and Social and Behavior Change and Communication Committees (SBCC) to integrate COVID-19 into family planning interventions across the supported states. In addition to integrating COVID-19 into family planning messages during social mobilization activities (Image 1), the Ogun state SBCC Committee designed an innovative way of wearing the COVID-19 apron over the Get It Together T-shirt as a way of showcasing the importance of family planning messages during this period and beyond (Image 2).

Most posters and leaflets now include messages related to COVID-19 (Image 3 and 4). TCI worked with Kano and Bauchi states to integrate COVID-19 and family planning messages into SBCC materials distributed in all local government venues and communities to sensitize people about COVID-19’s impact and how to be responsible for themselves and others (Image 5). In all activities, the TCI teams are taking adequate precautions against COVID-19, including the use of personal protective equipment and social distancing. Health educators are also integrating social distancing and hand-washing messages into already existing family planning and adolescent and youth reproductive health messages (Image 6).

Youth and adolescents are also being engaged through TCI’s Youth Life Planning Ambassadors, Community-Based Organizations and supported local musicians on reproductive health issues and family planning services using virtual platforms like YouTube, teleconferences and WhatsApp during the lockdown period. In addition, Interfaith Forum members and traditional rulers are using their platforms, while ACG members are taking advantage of their media networks to disseminate family planning and COVID 19 messages.

In recognition of the increased need for family planning services because of the countrywide lockdown, TCI is supporting states to use innovative approaches to ensure uninterrupted access to quality family planning services across supported local government areas. This includes ensuring an uninterrupted supply of commodities and provision of quality services. Buffer stock was accessed to ensure an adequate supply of family planning commodities while facility teams received technical assistance on infection prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during family planning service delivery. At the national level, TCI will continue to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant authorities to enhance the COVID-19 response while supporting states to ensure uninterrupted provision of quality family planning services to clients.