E2A Newsletter, January 2016

E2A at the fourth International Conference on Family Planning

At the fourth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), held in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, January 25-28, E2A staff joined others in the family planning movement to share valuable experiences about how to increase access to a wide range of contraceptives around the globe, especially for young people. These approaches may help reach many more women and girls who would like to avoid or delay pregnancy, but have never been able to obtain a contraceptive.

Regina Benevides, E2A’s Senior Youth Advisor, discussed the essential elements to consider when designing sexual and reproductive health programs for first-time parents—young women under the age of 25 who are pregnant or already have one child, and their partners. First-time parents have historically been underserved by family planning services. She presented an Integrated Framework for First-Time Parents that E2A is developing, which will be used to indicate what kinds of programs are most appropriate for reaching first-time parents, considering: the context, desired outcomes, service package and strategies, and  plans for scale-up.

Ms. Benevides delivered her presentations on first-time parents amid a conference where participants expressed the need to recognize and serve youth not as one in the same, but as the diverse group that they are.

“We definitely have to understand that youth is a very heterogeneous group and we have to think about segmentation of this group into many other subgroups and understand their different needs,” said Ms. Benevides.

At the conference, there was also wide recognition that youth need access to all kinds of contraceptives, including long-acting reversible methods.

On the evening of January 27, E2A, with Pathfinder International, FHI 360, Marie Stopes International, and Population Services International, held a satellite session—A Celebration of Young People’s Right to Full Choice—which unveiled and celebrated a new Global Consensus Statement supporting the expansion of contraceptive choice for young people to include long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). The statement was unveiled after a day at ICFP where hundreds of young leaders gathered alongside policymakers, advocates, and scientists to discuss the critical role of youth and adolescents in the family planning movement.

Confirming evidence shared in the Global Consensus Statement, Murtala Mai, E2A’s Director of Field Support (on behalf of Fariyal Fikree, E2A’s Senior Research Advisor) presented new evidence from a study in Ethiopia that showed the effectiveness of empowering youth-friendly service providers to provide LARCs in a “one-stop-shop” to youth.

“If we don’t have very strategic interventions that address young people, and targeted approaches that look at the lifecycle and look at their diverse issues, we are not likely to have an impact,” said Dr. Mai. “And we cannot have the global commitments in terms of resources and coverage if we don’t expand access to contraception.” Worknesh Kerela, representing the Integrated Family Health Program+ in Ethiopia, which receives funds through E2A, presented the project’s scale-up of youth-friendly services in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

Also focused on youth, Ms. Benevides presented the decision-making tool on youth-friendly servicesThinking outside the separate space: A decision-making tool for designing youth-friendly services—developed by E2A and Pathfinder International and a study in Mozambique that examined use of text messages to deliver information and stories related to sexual and reproductive health.

Discussions at the conference tied family planning approaches, such as these, to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3, which focuses on global health and well-being, Goal 5 on gender equality, and Goal 8 on economic empowerment and development.

Related to Goal 8, Pasiens Mapunda from Pathfinder International in Tanzania, in his presentation Catapulting Tanzania into a Middle-Income Country: Demographic Dividend Study, described a study commissioned by E2A that provides evidence about the attributes of harnessing the demographic dividend and investing in Tanzanian youth. The paper encourages investments in the health and economic well-being of young people, including support for family planning programs that will contribute to the fertility and mortality declines necessary to have a healthy population of working-age adults with fewer dependents.

For Sustainable Development Goal 3, the family planning movement has proposed that countries should aim to ensure that 75 percent of all women who wish to avoid pregnancy are using a modern contraceptive method.

Reaching millions more women and girls with contraception will entail innovative approaches to expand contraceptive access and options, enhanced investments in family planning interventions and bringing those interventions to scale, and strong local, national, regional, and global partnerships. It will require that previously underserved population groups are reached with quality family planning services that meet their individual needs.

Stembile Mugore, E2A’s Senior Advisor for Clinic Performance Improvement, at a poster session, presented innovative community-based approaches to family planning service delivery in Burundi that have improved access to family planning and method choice, and resulted in significant increases in new family planning acceptors in underserved regions. She also presented E2A’s support in improving access to quality postabortion care in Togo, which includes full method choice at point of treatment.

“The scale-up of best practices like postabortion care and community-based service provision, if documented, should contribute to international commitments, like FP2020 and EPCMD [Ending Preventable Child  and Maternal Deaths],” said Ms. Mugore. “We have to document, disseminate and support application of the work we are doing.”

Laura Ghiron, Scale-Up Advisor with E2A’s core partner ExpandNet, presented the challenges and successes of using Beginning with the end in mind—one of ExpandNet’s tools for systematic scale-up. E2A has applied the tool to design and implement programs—including, most recently, a community-based family planning program in Democratic Republic of the Congo—so that they can be successfully scaled.

Other oral presentations made about E2A-supported activities at the fourth ICFP include:

Reinvigorating Use of Family Planning in Cameroon with Emphasis on Immediate Postpartum Intra-Uterine Devices and Immediate Postpartum Implants (by Lea Monda)

Mobilizing Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Organizations in Africa to Scale Up Family Planning and Reproductive Health (by Tonny Tumwesigye)

Preparing Postpartum Family Planning for Scale: Connecting Community- and Facility-Based Health Workforce with Stakeholder Support (by Mildred Latigo)

Expanding Contraceptive Service Delivery: Community-based Distribution of Injectable Contraceptives through CHWs (by Ana Jacinto)