2011 International Conference on Family Planning
29 November–2 December 2011
"Strategies for increasing FP/RH uptake among married adolescent girls in Nyanza Province, Kenya"
Chi-Chi Undie, Francis Obare, Wilson Liambila, and Ben Ochieng
Married adolescent girls in Nyanza have comparatively low utilization levels for family planning (FP) services. Estimates from the 2008–2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, for example, show that almost 60% of married adolescent girls in Nyanza desire to delay childbearing, yet only 9% were currently using a modern method of contraception. The high proportion of married girls desiring to delay childbearing is an indication of the potential to make a marked difference in the level of uptake of FP through the implementation of appropriate interventions. This presentation details an innovative intervention to increase the uptake of FP and other reproductive health (RH) services among married adolescent girls in two districts of Nyanza Province.
Community health workers (CHWs) were trained in the FP and other RH needs of married adolescent girls and systematically linked to an interactive, culturally-appropriate, married adolescent girl-centered media campaign to encourage listenership during regular home-visits to married girls in their communities; assess health needs of the married girls; disseminate IEC materials that referenced and reinforced messages from the media campaign; make referrals to health facilities as needed; and pay follow-up visits over a 5-month period (January to May, 2011). CHWs received support supervision by representatives from the District Health Management Team on a monthly basis, and monitoring data to track CHW activities were collected periodically using a monitoring tool.
The interactive media campaign (in the form of a radio soap opera) served as an important avenue for 'giving voice' to married girls, who expressed their needs, opinions, and obtained FP and other reproductive health information via text message, phone calls, and Facebook. The listenership of the radio program went beyond married girls alone to extend to their partners and community members in general. The program was aired twice on two Nyanza FM radio stations over the intervention period due to popular demand. Nearly 9,000 married adolescent girls in the age range of 14–19 were identified by the CHWs within their communities and an increase in referrals for FP and other RH services was observed.
Community health workers can play a critical role in reaching vulnerable and often invisible groups such as married adolescent girls. Combining the efforts of CHWs with interactive media is an effective way of reinforcing FP/RH messages, and of increasing FP uptake among married girls in rural settings.
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