Formative Assessment on Emergency Contraception in Community-Based Family Planning Programs
Community-based family planning (CBFP) provision is one of the most efficient ways to ensure access to family planning (FP) services in rural and underserved areas. This proven high impact practice includes community health worker (CHW) provision of pills, condoms, Standard Days Method®, the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, injectables and emergency contraception. However, emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) remain relatively under-used globally and more so in rural areas. WellShare International and the Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) project undertook a formative assessment to evaluate current knowledge, use, supply, and barriers to the uptake of ECPs in four geographically and socially diverse districts where CBFP programs are operating. This assessment is the first of its kind in sub- Saharan Africa and the first to systematically explore ECP knowledge, access, and barriers to uptake specifically at the community-level to inform implementation. Some findings include:
- While most community health workers (CHWs) know about ECPs, the overwhelming majority of male and female community members are not aware of the method.
- CHWs, community members, and key informants agree that VHT provision of ECPs would increase awareness of, demand for, and greater access to ECPs.
- Focus group discussions underscore absolute importance of combining purpose of and education about ECPs with increased availability through CHWs.
APC plans to apply the findings to strengthen the integration of ECP in CBFP programs in Uganda and contribute to the development of contextually appropriate job aids, training and communications materials.