Mobilizing faith-based organizations to expand family planning

Equipping community health workers to provide family planning is an evidence-based and effective approach to improving the health of women, children and communities. Evidence also shows that Christian health networks across Africa are interested in revitalizing family planning efforts and connecting the communities they serve with family planning information and services. Although many of these networks have existing community health programs, few are currently offering family planning methods.

With funding from the World Bank, IRH, the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), and Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH), collaborated to strengthen the provision of family planning methods through faith-based health facilities in Kenya, with a specific focus on community-based family planning provision. Project results indicate that total family planning commodities distributed increased in the project area when compared to the same months in the previous year. This was true of commodities provided at the community level and the facility level, indicating that community health workers were generating demand for family planning across all methods.

Based on this experience, a five-point strategy was identified as critical for successful integration of family planning into existing community-based programs: Establishing a Supply Chain | Training Providers | Establishing a Reporting Mechanism | Creating a Supportive Environment | Ongoing Supervision of CHWs. This strategy aims to provide support to faith-based health networks that will result in an essential cadre of community health workers who are able to provide four family planning methods (pills, condoms, Standard Days Method®, Lactational Amenorrhea Method) and referrals to the facility for other methods.