The uptake of specific family planning methods is directly linked with provider knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.  If providers are not adequately trained and do not understand the new method, they will emphasize it less when counseling clients. They may share misinformation about the method that in turn may perpetuate misconceptions about the NUM. If offering the NUM is perceived as a burden for over-worked staff, providers may not offer the method regularly. Program managers need to assess if the method requires a highly trained provider (e.g., to insert an IUD), or if the method can be offered by varying levels of providers, including community health workers (e.g., female condoms and CycleBeads). The speed at which providers can be trained will also influence how rapidly the method will be offered and used. To determine if providers are able to inhibit/facilitate uptake of a NUM, consider the following inputs and influences for assumption building.

Assumption-building tips:

  • What are the standard treatment guidelines (STGs) in the country and other policy guidelines that influence provider behavior? Are these guidelines widely known and followed? Is the NUM included?
  • Where will the NUM be offered (public vs. private sector, community vs. facility level, etc.)? Consider what skills are needed to offer the NUM and which levels of providers (e.g., public vs. private sector, community vs. facility level, etc.) will offer or currently offer the method.
  • How many providers are trained or will be trained to offer the method?
  • What is the training plan for preparing providers to offer the NUM? Given the training plan, how rapidly can services be rolled out to new sites?
  • How long does it take for varying levels of providers to be comfortable and competent offering the method?
  • What is the plan for coordinating supervisory visits and/or conducting refresher trainings to reinforce knowledge?
  • What issues/challenges may providers have with offering the method?
  • How has provider bias influenced family planning programs offering this method (or similar methods) in the past, or in other similar contexts? Was a pilot study completed for the NUM in the country, or another similar country? What did the findings suggest about provider attitudes and acceptability?     
  • What is the time required for counseling on the method and how does that compare to other methods currently offered?      
  • Are there any surgical procedures required to offer the method? What additional resources are required to offer the method and what are the stock levels of those supplies? What level of buffer would be necessary to account for human error (e.g., when these resources are damaged in use, etc.)?