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Implementation Stories: How Programs Use High Impact Practices and WHO Guidelines

IBP Network Presents Real-Life Experiences from Family Planning Programs

In early 2020, the WHO/IBP Network and Knowledge SUCCESS Project launched an effort to support organizations to share their experiences using High Impact Practices (HIPs) and WHO Guidelines and Tools in Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programming. The initial call for concepts led to over 100 submissions from more than 30 countries. In June 2020, we selected the winners—15 organizations and authors received a stipend to document and tell their story in their own words and with their own images. Authors were encouraged to highlight the successes, challenges, and lessons learned implementing High Impact Practices in Family Planning and using WHO Guidelines and Tools in country-level programs.

We are proud to announce the publication of these 15 Implementation Stories on the WHO/IBP Network Website. The winning stories represent a diverse range of partners from 15 countries around the world. Twelve stories were originally published in English, two in Spanish, and one in French, but all 15 stories will soon be available in all three languages.

Stories cover a range of topics from clinical service delivery to community engagement and showcase interventions in urban areas, rural and hard to reach places, and humanitarian settings. In addition, stories reflect work with a diversity of communities including men and boys, people with disabilities, youth and adolescents, and indigenous populations.

Most of the stories focus on service delivery interventions such as Mobile Outreach, Community Health Workers, Immediate Postpartum Family Planning, Drug Shops and Pharmacies, and FP Immunization Integration. There are also several that discuss Community Group Engagement, Supportive Policies, Domestic Public Financing, and Adolescent Responsive Contraceptive Services.

The WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria (MEC) and MEC Wheel, Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, and the Family Planning Training Resource Package were applied in many of projects described in the stories. Other guidance—such as Ensuring Human Rights in the Provision of Contraceptive Information and Services, Quality Assessment Handbook, Guidance for Contraception for Women at High Risk of HIV, and selected WHO Guidelines for Adolescent Health—was also mentioned in some stories.

IBP Network: 15 stories about implementing High Impact Practices and WHO Guidelines in Family Planning

While these stories are diverse in topics and geography, there were some common themes and lessons learned throughout:

1) High Impact Practices are not implemented in isolation

In many of the Implementation Stories, while the focus was on one specific practice, these practices were often combined with others. For example, the “One Stop Shop” program by EngenderHealth Tanzania highlighted mobile outreach for family planning that linked to existing outreach services for HIV & TB screening, immunizations, and ARV refill days.

2) There are other “best practices” that are critical to successful program implementation

In many stories there were other practices that were mentioned that were essential to ensuring successful outcomes of the program. For example, in Nigeria, as part of “An integrated approach to increasing postpartum long-acting reversible contraception” by Clinton Global Health Access Initiative Inc., a detailed and robust mentoring program was incorporated for providers to support continued training, capacity building, and sustainability.

3) Linking WHO Guidelines and programmatic High Impact Practices facilitates use

Authors recognized the value of WHO Guidelines and Tools and expressed the need to better connect them with programmatic interventions like the HIPs. This can strengthen the quality of implementation and facilitate better use of WHO Guidelines at a more localized level. For example, in Burkina Faso, as part of the Jhpiego “Strengthening preservice education of midwifery and obstetrics and gynecology,” pre-service training was provided using the WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria and new graduates were given print copies of Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers.

4) Family planning programming is intersectoral

In almost every story there were links between the family planning/health program and other aspects of community development such economic growth, education, community empowerment, climate, and government advocacy.

5) Supporting documentation efforts contributes to knowledge sharing

Providing partners with both funding and technical support to share their stories with their own voices not only enabled a fun and dynamic way to share experiences, but also provided an opportunity to strengthen capacity around documentation. It also allowed an exchange of information between authors and allowed partners to disseminate and share in their own country settings.

On April 20, the IBP Network hosted a webinar for the global launch of the series (see details and listen to a recording here). In the coming months, WHO/IBP Network and Knowledge SUCCESS will be hosting a series of webinars with Implementation Story authors to hear more about their experiences; we look forward to bringing you more information soon.

Community health worker Agnes Apid (L) with Betty Akello (R) and Caroline Akunu (center). Agnes is providing the women with counseling and family planning information. Image credit: Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment
Nandita Thatte

IBP Network Lead

Nandita Thatte leads the IBP Network housed at the World Health Organization in the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research. Her current portfolio includes institutionalizing the role of IBP to support the dissemination and use of evidence-based interventions and guidelines, to strengthen the linkages between IBP field-based partners and WHO researchers to inform implementation research agendas and foster collaboration among the 80+ IBP member organizations. Prior to joining WHO, Nandita was a Senior Advisor in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID where she designed, managed, and evaluated programs in West Africa, Haiti and Mozambique. Nandita has a MPH from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a DrPH in Prevention and Community Health from the George Washington University School of Public Health.

Sarah V. Harlan

Partnerships Team Lead, Knowledge SUCCESS

Sarah V. Harlan, MPH, has been a champion of global reproductive health and family planning for nearly two decades. She is currently the partnerships team lead for the Knowledge SUCCESS Project at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. Her particular technical interests include Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) and increasing access to longer-acting contraceptive methods. She is a co-founder of the Family Planning Voices storytelling initiative and a co-author of several how-to guides, including Building Better Programs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Knowledge Management in Global Health.

Carolin Ekman

Communications and Knowledge Management

Carolin Ekman works for the IBP Network Secretariat, where her main focus is on communications, social media and knowledge management. She has been leading the development of the IBP Community Platform; manages content for the network; and is involved in various projects related to storytelling, strategy and rebranding of IBP. With 12 years across the UN system, NGOs and the private sector, Carolin has a multidisciplinary understanding of SRHR and its wider impact on wellbeing and sustainable development. Her experience spans across external/internal communications; advocacy; public/private partnerships; corporate responsibility; and M&E. Focus areas include family planning; adolescent health; social norms; FGM; child marriage; and honour based violence. Carolin holds a MSc in Media Technology/Journalism from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, as well as a MSc in Marketing from Stockholm University, Sweden, and has also studied human rights, development and CSR in Australia and Switzerland.

Anne Ballard Sara, MPH

Senior Program Officer

Anne Ballard Sara is a Program Officer II at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, where she supports knowledge management research activities, field programs, and communications. Her background in public health includes behavior change communication, family planning, women’s empowerment, and research. Anne served as a health volunteer in the Peace Corps in Guatemala and holds a Master of Public Health from George Washington University.

Ados Velez May

Senior Technical Advisor, IBP

Ados is a Senior Technical Advisor at the IBP Network Secretariat. In that role, Ados provides technical leadership engaging the network member organizations on a variety of issues such as documenting effective practices in family planning, dissemination of high-impact practices (HIPs), and knowledge management. Prior to IBP, Ados was based in Johannesburg, as a regional advisor for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, supporting a number of member organizations in Southern Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in international public health program design, technical assistance, management, and capacity building, focusing on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health.

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