Community-Based Family Planning (CBFP): Fresh Ideas for a Popular Course

Leigh Wynne, MPH

FHI 360 | Technical Advisor, Research Utilization

Lucy Harber

FHI 360 | Instructional Design Associate, Research Utilization

Hannah Hodge

FHI 360 | Intern, Research Utilization
A community health worker counsels her client on family planning issues under a tree in rural Uganda.

A community health worker counsels her client on family planning issues under a tree in rural Uganda. Credit: Morrisa Malkin, FHI 360

Community-based family planning (CBFP) is a safe and effective way to increase access to vital family planning (FP) services for people across the world. The global shortage of health care workers leaves many women with an unmet need for FP. Employing CBFP approaches helps reach the women who are most vulnerable to unintended pregnancy by bringing sexual and reproductive health services to them. FP2020’s goals include reaching an additional 120 million women by the year 2020—a goal that is attainable in large part because of CBFP practices, with their high efficacy in reaching more women and delivering effective services, safely—particularly to women in rural and underserved communities.

“It has been such a relief to have this [community health worker], who serves me in her home. The Health Center has no drugs and it was painful queuing up there only to be told that there is no medicine. Then for the clinics, one has to pay…I did not have the [money] to pay…So I defaulted and the result was getting pregnant. I am really grateful [for the community health worker initiative] because defaulting does not arise for me.” - 20-year-old woman from Mubende District, Uganda

The continued interest in the Global Health eLearning Center’s CBFP course is evidence of a growing global demand for programming resources in this high impact practice. To date, over 4,000 users have completed and passed the course from countries all over the globe. Course users include program implementers, project managers, global health professionals, clinicians and students. When asked why they took the course, most users said they had interest in the topic and thought it would help them in their jobs.

Based on feedback from course users, we restructured and updated the course to include resources on three CBFP approaches:

  • Provision by community health workers
  • Drug shops
  • Mobile clinics

We also added real-world examples from countries that have implemented these approaches as well as a case study at the end which allows users an opportunity to apply what they have learned in a simulated setting.

In addition to these new features, we updated references and resources throughout the course—ensuring that users get the most current and comprehensive information on CBFP. The updated course content, references and resources reflect the latest published evidence and the opinions of experts in CBFP topic areas.

We enter 2017 with renewed energy and passion for advancing FP2020 goals through community-based family planning. By promoting CBFP approaches, we are centering access to family planning services globally within a rights-based framework and significantly increasing the number of women we can reach. Each individual who gains greater ability to control her own health and fertility is a life-changing success. Taken as a whole, the success of reaching 120 million more women by 2020 has a world-changing effect. It is our hope that this eLearning course will continue to be a valuable tool to implementing partners and stakeholders across the globe; check it out today!