Curricula, Toolkits, and Guides

The Balanced Counseling Strategy Plus: A Toolkit for Family Planning Service Providers Working in High HIV/STI Prevalence Settings (Third Edition)

The Balanced Counseling Strategy Plus (BCS+) toolkit, developed and tested in Kenya and South Africa, provides the information and materials that healthcare providers need to offer complete, high-quality family planning counseling to clients living in areas with high rates of HIV and STIs. The BCS+ was adapted from the Balanced Counseling Strategy (León 1999; León et al. 2003a, b, c; León, Vernon, Martin, and Bruce 2008). The first edition of the Balanced Counseling Strategy and Balanced Counseling Strategy Plus toolkits are products of the Population Council’s FRONTIERS program, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Cooperative Agreement HRN-A-00-98-00012-00.

The second edition was updated based on the 2010 WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria (MEC) as well as recommendations from authors and partners who have experienced and evaluated implementation of the tool in settings and scenarios around the world and validated through the Integra Initiative, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It included additional counseling cards on cervical cancer screening, postpartum and infant health.

This third edition of the BCS+ includes content updated according to the latest WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria (2015). It incorporates the most up to date evidence on clinical indications for the provision of family planning methods, including new methods (Caya®/SILCS diaphragm and Progesterone Vaginal Ring), and includes five new counseling cards that address Adolescent Counseling, Male Services, Post Abortion Care, and Women’s Support and Safety. The updated cards include instructions for providers, guiding them through supplemental counseling and services that family planning clients may need. The BCS+ has been well-accepted since its creation. Kenya has adopted the BCS+ as part of their national family planning policy. Previous additions have been translated into different languages and have inspired a similar, algorithm-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for family planning consultations, being implemented in Kenya. 

Additional resource: WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria Wheel for Contraceptive Use, 2015