Reproductive Health and Family Planning Youth Ambassadors of Mali | President
The Reproductive Health and Family Planning Youth Ambassadors are a group of dedicated and engaged youth advocates who educate, counsel, and motivate our peers to adopt healthy sexual behaviors. Photo by Moctar Diallo courtesy of IntraHealth International.
In Mali, young girls face the prospect of unwanted or adolescent pregnancies that can lead to unsafe abortions and other health risks. The most recent Demographic Health Survey indicated that early pregnancy increases the risk of death among adolescents. Further, pregnancy considerably reduces a young woman’s chances of continuing her studies and puts her at risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS. In fact, young women are three times as likely as young men to become infected with HIV.
New family planning products give advocates something to be excited about. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki
It’s an interesting time to be a family planning advocate. In many FP2020 countries, we’re making real strides in increasing access to contraception—due in part to the emergence of new methods, from novel female condoms, to implants, to injectables. Maintaining and advancing funding commitments and supportive policies will be even more important as we work to continue hard-won progress.
Girls and women faced a horrendous situation in Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. I had only two choices to react to their poignant situation: Weep with them and we all become miserable, or take up their case and work to see something done.
Desmond Nji Atanga answers students' questions on family planning methods.
Education opens up a wealth of choices and informed decisions necessary to live a healthy life. We know that education and health enjoy positively correlated benefits. Education improves health, while health facilitates successful education. One way of ensuring adequate access to family planning services is through information—and education certainly provides opportunities for that.
This piece was originally published on the Health Policy Plus blog, Viewpoints.
Earlier this year I traveled to Niger to support the Ministry of Health in refining the country's Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) for family planning. While there, I worked with a dedicated group—ministry staff, implementing partners, representatives from the religious community, and youth advocates—to agree on priorities that could accelerate progress on Niger's ambitious goal to increase its modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) from 13 percent (or 14.4% for married women) to 50 percent by 2020. We spent 3.5 days combing through the results of their mid-term review of Niger's CIP to set priorities and identify which population groups, in addition to women, we should focus on reaching: youth (what age range?), men (which men: community leaders? partners?), religious leaders? At the end of the workshop, we felt a sense of accomplishment in our priorities going forward, which included establishing how the government can extend services throughout the large Sahelian country using community health workers, mobile clinics, and strategies to improve data collection. Another important priority we agreed on was a focus on educating youth on the socioeconomic benefits of family planning.
On April 28, 2017, the Nigerian Minister of Health released an updated training curriculum for Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) to include guidance on providing long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). The revision builds on Nigeria’s 2014 task-sharing policy that authorizes CHEWs to provide women with implants and intra-uterine devices, both LARC methods.
Over the past decade, rates of infant, child, and maternal deaths have decreased significantly. The efforts to reach the underserved are really making a difference and have resulted in big improvements. But with more than 300,000 women dying from pregnancy-related causes each year, we still have a long way to go. While there are many ways to save lives, one of the simplest and most cost-effective is contraception.
Before we were known as K4Health, USAID’s flagship knowledge management project, led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, was the INFO Project. It was almost 10 years ago, in November 2007, that INFO Project staff published the Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services. The Guide was developed in collaboration with HIPNet (the Health Information and Publications Network), and featured a rudimentary logic model and 29 indicators.
We live in a connected world. The rise in mobile device ownership, internet coverage, and wireless access means that we can reach each other from nearly anywhere, at any time. Yet technology is far from the only thing that connects us. There are a number of complex connections between our families, our health, and the environment that impact our lives. Recognizing these interactions, development practitioners have established a term to describe programming approaches that concurrently address issues related to families, their health, and the environment. This approach is called Population, Health and Environment (PHE).