Scaling up Balanced Counseling Strategy Plus (BCS+) to improve the quality of family planning and HIV counseling through linking counseling and testing with family planning services, Kenya and South Africa
Presentation at 4th South African AIDS Conference: Scaling Up for Success,
Durban, 31 March
Menziwa,Mantshi; Liambila,Wilson; Mullick,Saiqa; Khoza,Doctor; Askew,Ian
Publication date: 2009
The Population Council's Frontiers in Reproductive Health (FRONTIERS) program, in collaboration with the ministries of health in Kenya and South Africa, developed and tested a practical, interactive, and client-friendly strategy for improving counseling during family planning (FP) consultations The aforementioned process referred to as the Balanced Counseling Strategy (BCS), was tested and refined in several countries, and involves a series of steps to determine the contraceptive methods that are client specific.
The FRONTIERS program developed and piloted the BCS+ in Kenya and South Africa owing to the high rates of STIs, including HIV, in both countries and their contraceptive prevalence rates, which are relatively high for the region. This approach provides opportunities to reach a substantial proportion of the sexually active population. As in most countries, their FP and HIV programs are implemented separately, although both countries are actively seeking, through their ministries of health, to develop practical tools for an integrated approach.
Empirical research indicate, inter alia, that using the BCS improved the quality of the provider's counseling and allowed the client to take ownership of the decision. Use of the BCS+ algorithm increased the likelihood that providers would offer counseling and testing, and that the offer would be accepted. Nearly all providers who used the algorithm, the cards, or both mentioned counseling and testing compared to 65 percent when no materials were used.
Scaling up BCS+ as a practical, interactive, low-cost, and client-driven tool to integrate HIV into FP services is recommended, because it is easy to adapt to local contexts.