WhatsAppGroup Provides Virtual, Cost-Efficient Coaching for Taraba State’s Family Planning Coordinators

by | May 6, 2019

In Taraba State, Nigeria, The Challenge Initiative has created a group on WhatsApp to provide constant mentorship and coaching on all aspects of family planning to the state’s Family Planning/Reproductive Health (FP/RH) Coordinators, who range widely in age (from 30 to 55 years old) and experience. The group can share reports, exchange best practices and problem-solve by offering a quick way to respond to challenges faced by the coordinators as they implement family planning approaches.

The 28-member group includes all four members of TCI’s Technical Support Team in Taraba, coordinators from all 16 local government areas (LGAs) in Taraba State (TCI currently supports five LGAs in Taraba), and members of Taraba State’s Family Planning Team which includes the State Family Planning Coordinator, the State Assistant Family Planning Coordinator/Service Delivery Counterpart and other stakeholders. As a result, LGAs not supported by TCI in Taraba State also benefit from the continuous coaching support through this WhatsApp group.

Members are encouraged to immediately share data and photos from their work. The group also offers a cost-efficient way of providing coaching as it saves time and resources required for provision of physical mentoring visits. Because of the ubiquity of the WhatsApp platform and its easy-to-use nature, members prefer it over email. In an average week, coordinators post about 10 summary reports on implementation activities and the changes they are witnessing as a result. In addition to the reports, an additional five posts are shared on average related to challenges and other issues. These posts always receive numerous responses.

“With TCI intervention, we see a lot of progress in Taraba State. Every day, the number of people accepting family planning is increasing. State store inventory is now known to all FP Coordinators. Whole Site Orientation to the facilities contribute to high uptake of family planning in the State. Well-done TCI and all the FP and RH coordinators in Taraba State. Thanks.”
– Posted by the family planning coordinator in Jalingo LGA on Taraba’s WhatsApp group.

A photo posted by Jalingo’s family planning coordinator in the WhatsApp group of Harira Bashir, a service provider at a primary healthcare center providing family planning counseling to women at a postnatal clinic.

TCI has used the group to encourage reporting into the National Health Logistics Management Information system (LMIS)  – which was developed by the National Supply Chain Integration Project (NSCIP) to bridge gaps and maintain an uninterrupted supply chain system in Nigeria. Reporting using a particular supply form has steadily improved to 100%. In March/April 2018, 0% were returned but by May/June 2018, there was a 5% increase. Then in  July/August 2018, 83% were returned. From September to December 2018, there was a 100% return rate.

The group has also rekindled enthusiasm among the coordinators to supervise and mentor providers at service delivery points because of their increased access to information on family planning services and in uptake of services.

The coaching the family planning coordinators receive virtually through the group enables them to better train service providers at the facility level, who then can offer family planning information and services to women using the clinics for antenatal care. In February 2019, 25 women at the Comprehensive Health Centre Karim Lamido MNCH clinic received family messages during antenatal care along with messages on immunization, breastfeeding and use of bed nets. Similarly, 35 women at Zing General Hospital received counseling from the LGA coordinator during antenatal care. The coordinator in Bali LGA counseled 43 women during antenatal care visits. The women made commitments to space their children after deliveries to achieve healthier families. And, in February 2019, in the Jalingo primary healthcare center, 42 women were counseled on the benefits of family planning during the postnatal care clinic, and 25 women received a modern contraceptive method of their choosing after that counseling.