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Integrating Knowledge Management Into Senegal’s Self-Care Guidelines

The audio version of this article is provided through the use of AI-powered technology. The voices are AI-generated and do not represent the authors or their actual voices.

In the evolving landscape of reproductive health and family planning in Senegal, the integration of self-care practices has emerged as a pivotal strategy. Aissatou Thioye, a key contributor to this transformative initiative, sheds light on the importance of self-care methods for women and families in Senegal. From family planning methods to addressing gaps in the health sector, Aissatou emphasizes the significant role self-care plays in achieving healthcare objectives. The subsequent dialogue with Ida Rose Ndione explores the intersection of knowledge management with self-care guidelines, illustrating how intentional knowledge-sharing becomes a cornerstone for the success of this innovative approach.

How Does Self-Care Relate to Senegal’s Family Planning and Reproductive Health Goals? Why are Self-Care Methods an Important Option for Women and Families in Senegal?

Aissatou Thioye: Self-care guarantees improved coverage and access to healthcare in general. Recourse to self-care practices becomes important for women when we know that they also integrate willingness into prevention, information and use of the opportunities offered. Good health education for women and girls is important. There is also the use of family planning methods such as female and male condoms, natural FP methods, oral contraceptives, self-injection of contraceptives and self-administration of the Vaginal Progesterone Ring (AVP) (intervention in scale-up phase). These personal initiatives, supervised by health staff, will not only help to improve the achievement of FP objectives in Senegal, but also go some way to filling the gaps in the health sector mentioned above. And finally, a point that is specific to young people, and which they like to remind us of, is the opportunity they have to meet their basic reproductive health needs at a reduced cost and without prejudice.

How Important are National Guidelines on Self-Care for Advancing Family Planning and Reproductive Health?

Aissatou Thioye: The Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) which doubled from 2012 to 2020, rising from 12% to 26.5%, with a decrease in the Family Planning Unmet Need (FUP) rate from 29.4% to 21.7%. Despite this evolutionary trend, targets are not being met and, as indicated in Senegal’s national self-care guide, for various health sectors, gaps are linked to major challenges such as insufficient and inequitable distribution of qualified personnel, lack of integration of services, non-compliance with the continuum of care, and financial and/or geographical inaccessibility to health services in certain areas or conditions.

What’s the Role of Knowledge Management in Self-Care Guidelines?

Aissatou Thioye: As mentioned in Senegal’s national self-care guide, the success of the self-care strategy depends largely on the ability of care providers to transfer skills, to supervise and monitor users, but also on the latter’s ability to take care of themselves in accordance with guidelines. It is therefore important to initiate an approach based on health literacy. This will be supported by a good knowledge management system. This is because knowledge management is an intentional and systematic approach that enables individuals to collect knowledge and information, organize it, link it with others and make it easier to use.

This is in line with the opportunities offered by knowledge management, which is a systematic and intentional approach that supports projects and programs in collecting information and knowledge, organizing it, connecting it to others and making it more accessible and easier to use. As with any reproductive health initiative, we are in an era where formal and intentional knowledge management is paramount, I stress because intention is important. Through knowledge management, we facilitate mutual learning within the group of self-care pioneers in Senegal and beyond, with peers in other countries, produce content to share knowledge, notably through blog posts, facilitate access to resources for different stakeholders, and so on. And what’s interesting is that in Senegal, the group is already nurturing this knowledge management culture.

How Did Knowledge SUCCESS Partner with Senegal to Integrate Knowledge Management (KM) into its Self-Care Guidelines? (Who Did We Partner with, What Role Did We Play, What Did the Process Look Like, etc)

Ida Rose Ndione: The Senegal self-care pioneers group is coordinated by PATH, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, specifically the Directorate General of Health and the Directorate of Mother and Child Health. In this group, we are pleased to count a number of partners, including PRB with Knowledge SUCCESS, SOLTHIS, Acdev, ANJSR/PF, youth organizations, the siggil jigeen network, several civil society organizations, associations of health professionals and others. This mobilization around an essential health project for the benefit of our communities obviously calls for collaboration. This is one of the foundations of knowledge management. And so, through presentations on knowledge management to promote a better understanding of it, and concrete proposals on the impact that knowledge management could have on the group’s initial priorities, Knowledge SUCCESS offered its support. This strengthened the initial collaboration with DSME, PRB, youth partners, etc. Given the importance of documenting self-care experiences in Senegal, of sharing experiences, of learning from others and building on good practices to move forward, of having a good centralized documentary source accessible to all group members, etc., Knowledge SUCCESS worked with PATRICK to ensure that the group was able to move forward. Knowledge SUCCESS worked with PATH and PRB to create an internal virtual library for group members, co-organized a learning workshop to draw up a learning plan, and co-produced a blogpost with PATH on the progress of self-care in Senegal once the guide had been finalized, participated in the process of developing the national self-care guide, in which, with JSI, we provided the technical language to integrate a learning and knowledge management component, organized a peer assist between Senegal and Nigeria and piloted a recap of this activity by the participants, etc.

Have You Seen Any Impact Yet From the Integration of KM into Senegal’s Self-Care Guidelines?

Ida Rose Ndione: Yes, as I said earlier, we’re all already aware of the importance of knowledge management for the safe advancement of self-care in Senegal. And what’s good is that, from the outset, this group has initiated rotating monthly meetings, from one group member organization to another, to take the lead and share relevant information with all members, virtually or face-to-face. This continuous sharing of information, in 1 hour’s time, in an easy format, is important. Everyone has the opportunity to be at the same level of information, on what’s happening in our country, our organizations and beyond on self-care, to launch reflections that can help advance self-care in Senegal. This approach allows each organization to feel involved and to demonstrate its contribution to self-care.

What’s Next for KM and Self-Care in the West Africa Region? 

Ida Rose Ndione: In Senegal, this component has already been systematized, and we will be strengthening it with the involvement of all stakeholders. We will continue to apply knowledge management tools and techniques to our various activities. What we do is based on collaboration, mutual and continuous learning, and networking. So, knowledge management goes beyond one group, but is taken into account even by stakeholders willing to apply its approaches.  

Secondly, we’re going to connect more closely with self-care champions on a regional and global level, by making our resources available, organizing sharing and learning activities, and so on.

The Future of Knowledge Management in Self-Care Strategies

As we delve into the realms of knowledge management, it becomes evident that its deliberate application enhances the efficacy of self-care strategies. The collaboration between Senegal and Knowledge SUCCESS in integrating knowledge management into self-care guidelines underscores the collective commitment to advancing reproductive health. The impact is already tangible, with a growing culture of information-sharing and mutual learning among self-care pioneers in Senegal. Looking forward, the systematic integration of knowledge management will continue to strengthen, not just within Senegal but across the West Africa region. The journey towards self-care champions and enhanced collaboration promises a future where knowledge becomes a powerful tool in shaping the landscape of reproductive health.

Sophie Weiner

Program Officer II, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

Sophie Weiner is a Knowledge Management and Communications Program Officer II at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs where she is dedicated to developing print and digital content, coordinating project events, and strengthening capacity for storytelling in Francophone Africa. Her interests include family planning/reproductive health, social and behavior change, and the intersection between population, health, and the environment. Sophie holds a B.A. in French/International Relations from Bucknell University, an M.A. in French from New York University, and a master’s degree in Literary Translation from the Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Aïssatou Thioye

West Africa Knowledge Management and Partnerships Officer, Knowledge SUCCESS, FHI 360

Aïssatou Thioye est dans la division de l'utilisation de la recherche, au sein du GHPN de FHI360 et travaille pour le projet Knowledge SUCCESS en tant que Responsable de la Gestion des Connaissances et du Partenariat pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Dans son rôle, elle appuie le renforcement de la gestion des connaissances dans la région, l’établissement des priorités et la conception de stratégies de gestion des connaissances aux groupes de travail techniques et partenaires de la PF/SR en Afrique de l’Ouest. Elle assure également la liaison avec les partenaires et les réseaux régionaux. Par rapport à son expérience, Aïssatou a travaillé pendant plus de 10 ans comme journaliste presse, rédactrice-consultante pendant deux ans, avant de rejoindre JSI où elle a travaillé dans deux projets d’Agriculture et de Nutrition, successivement comme mass-media officer puis spécialiste de la Gestion des Connaissances.******Aïssatou Thioye is in the Research Utilization Division of the GHPN of FHI 360 and works for the Knowledge SUCCESS project as the Knowledge Management and Partnership Officer for West Africa. In her role, she supports the strengthening of knowledge management in the region, setting priorities and designing knowledge management strategies at the FP/RH technical and partner working groups in West Africa. She also liaises with regional partners and networks. In relation to her experience, Aïssatou worked for more than 10 years as a press journalist, then as an editor-consultant for two years, before joining JSI where she worked on two Agriculture and Nutrition projects, successively as a mass-media officer and then as a Knowledge Management specialist.

Ida Ndione

Senior Program Officer, PATH

Ida Ndione is a Senior Program Officer for PATH in Senegal where she leads work on self-care for sexual and reproductive health, as well as non-communicable diseases. She works with health private sector and provides technical support for the Ministry of Health in convening the Self-Care Pioneers Group and developing national self-care guidelines. Prior to this role, Ida served as PATH’s Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator for the introduction of subcutaneous DMPA and provided support on research and institutional communications. She is member of the Prospective Country Evaluation team in Senegal, conducting mixt method evaluation for Global Fund programs on Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV. She represents PATH Senegal in Several National and international Committee. Ida has fifteen years of experience working at the intersection of public health, sociology, and health policy and financing. She holds master’s degrees in public health and anthropology

Kiya Myers, MPS

Managing Editor, Knowledge SUCCESS

Kiya Myers is the Managing Editor of Knowledge SUCCESS’ website. She was previously the Managing Editor of CHEST journals at American College of Chest Physicians where she worked to transition the manuscript submission platforms and launched two new online-only journals. She was the Assistant Managing Editor at the American Society of Anesthesiologists, responsible for copyediting the column “Science, Medicine, and Anesthesiology” published monthly in Anesthesiology and ensuring adherence to peer review policies by reviewers, associate editors, and editorial staff. She facilitated the successful launch of Blood Podcast in 2020. Serving as the Podcast Subcommittee Chair of the Professional Development Committee for the Council of Science Editors, she managed the successful launch of CSE S.P.E.A.K. Podcast in 2021.