TCI’s Collaboration with OB-GYN Society Helps Further Strengthen Capacity in Three Indian States
Contributors: Dr Sangeeta Goel, Deepika Anshu Bara, Hitesh Sahni and Deepti Mathur
In collaboration with the Family Welfare Committee (FWC) and the District Obstetric & Gynecological (Obs/Gynae) societies of the Federation of Obstetric & Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), TCI India hosted a webinar series for its members and other service providers across the supported states of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar and Jharkhand.
FOGSI is a national body of all registered obstetricians and gynecologists working in the public and private sector. It includes a membership base of more than 30,000 registered gynecologists. The webinar series offered contraceptive technology updates, clarified myths and misperceptions, and provided an opportunity for service providers to interact with some of the leading family planning experts in India.
Family planning expert Dr. Jyoti Vajpayee appreciated the efforts of the FWC of FOGSI towards promoting family planning services. As part of her opening remarks, she stated that India has reached the replacement fertility level and that this medical fraternity of doctors, nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) and frontline workers deserves recognition for this achievement. She noted that government regulations and the work of agencies, like TCI India, have also helped in promoting spacing methods.
This collaboration between TCI and FOGSI was mutually beneficial because FWC is charged with raising awareness and providing technical updates on the Government of India’s family planning program and external practicing bodies through its Sankalp Program. Aligning with this vision, the webinars were designed and led by FWC and District Obstetric & Gynecological societies with support from TCI that focused on coordination efforts between the national body with the district societies and invitees and identifying the thematic areas for the series, which included:
- Newer long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) and limiting options
- Oral pills – benefits outweighs risks
- Procedures and devices
- Tailoring contraception and family planning counseling, where FOGSI FWC and other FOGSI stalwarts provided recent updates on FP methods and also clarified queries and concerns of providers.
The webinar series consisted of eight webinars that were attended by more than 1,000 service providers from 40 districts in UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. This translated to covering the following districts.
- 15 districts in UP: Lucknow, Kanpur, Moradabad, Shahjahanpur, Aligarh, Meerut, Mujaffarnagar, Mau, Agra, Prayagraj, Ayodhya, Firozabad, Varanasi, Bareilly and Etawah.
- 8 districts in Bihar: Patna, Bhagalpur, Purnia, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Gaya, Sitamarhi and Katihar.
- 4 districts of Jharkhand: Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Dhanbad.
Some of the keynote remarks included hearing from:
- Shobha N. Gudi, Chairperson of FWC, FOGSI, who reminded members that counseling is very crucial and side effects resulting from any method, like menstrual irregularities and lower abdominal pain, must be explained to the client.
- Basab Mukherjee, Vice President, FOGSI, who discussed the significance of using the Medical Eligibility Criteria wheel, particularly for COCs, and under which circumstances they should be used with caution or avoided altogether.
- Madhuri A. Patel, Secretary General, FOGSI, who highlighted the need to extend quality family planning services to the last mile, and for this, she recommended building the capacity of service providers at the grassroots level – which this webinar series and TCI India is attempting to do in urban areas of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.
- Shyam Pyari Jaiswar, President, Lucknow Obs/Gynae society, who highlighted critical points such as using the GATHER approach, method specific counseling, being non-judgmental and empathetic to clients and emphasized building capacity at all service providers’ levels.
The webinars were greatly appreciated by all participants – that is, members of FOGSI and the district societies. For example, Dr. Anita Singh, President-elect of AOGS, Bihar and Jharkhand, called for continued education through such webinars on more family planning related topics in the future.
This collaboration signified an important first step towards capacity strengthening in TCI-supported states. It also helped to build relationships among service providers from smaller cities/towns and FP experts at the district and national levels, establishing connections and opening avenues for them to seek answers to their queries. And it serves as an example of how TCI helps to strengthen existing platforms for potential coaching related to TCI’s proven service delivery and demand generation interventions.