Through our work leading USAID’s Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus program, Abt Associates is helping build the capacity of health care providers to better care for their clients. In Nigeria, we’ve trained more than 930 doctors, nurses, midwives and community health extension workers to improve family planning services in more than 640 facilities. The result? Almost 48,000 families are receiving the care they need.
We can see the results of improved capacity at the Vom Christian Hospital, which has resumed offering the full method mix of family planning services after three years. Established in 1922, the hospital has served its community for decades. lt was opened in an effort to complement the government’s effort to provide health care to the people, but was forced to suspend family planning services due to staff attrition.
Thanks to training provided through SHOPS Plus, the hospital was able to bring back family planning services. For service providers like Mary Nyango, this has been an exciting development.
Nyango has worked at the hospital for 22 years. Early in her career she worked for a provider that offered long-acting contraception. She hoped to receive training to provide this method but services—and the opportunity to learn—were suspended. Because she never learned to insert Jadelle and other implants correctly, she had to resort to using an IUD insertion technique that increased the risk of infection for clients. As a result of the lack of training and services, Nyango said that clients who came to the hospital for family planning services were often unable to receive the method they requested. In addition, the hospital lacked a private unit dedicated to family planning services that could ensure clients were comfortable and had the necessary privacy for counselling and clinical care.
In November 2018, this all changed. SHOPS Plus revived the training and, the hospital began to rebuild its capacity to provide family planning services. Nyango was able to receive the training she desired, and shortly after, she was able to set up the first family planning unit and organize regular health talks for patients with support from the hospital’s management team.
“SHOPS [Plus] made a turnaround in my life and the life of people that may benefit from what [the project] has impacted [sic] in me,” she said. “They are doing a good job, especially in our facility that … is now alive again and delivering FP services.”
SHOPS Plus is facilitating agreements between private facilities, like Vom Christian Hospital, and the state government for the facilities to receive free family planning commodities, such as implants. These free resources allow the facilities to reduce the cost of services to 700 naira ($2) for long-acting, reversible contraceptives and 200 naira for short-acting contraceptives. Nyango says all her clients are happy about the significant reduction in the cost of family planning services and that they no longer have to travel long distances to get them.
Women in Nigeria have been among the more than 225 million women worldwide with an unmet need for family planning, which contributes to the more than 800 deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth that occur each day. Working with SHOPS Plus, Nigeria is improving these outcomes and supporting healthy families by expanding the availability of family planning services.
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