The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project is pleased to share our new publication: “Improving Quality of Postpartum Family Planning in Low-Resource Settings: A Framework for Policy Makers, Managers, and Medical Care Providers”
Postpartum Family Planning (PPFP), aiming to prevent the high risk of unintended and closely spaced pregnancies during the first year following childbirth, is one of the highest impact interventions to avoid increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, fetal and neonatal death, and adverse maternal health outcomes. Despite monumental gains in training and family planning commodities distribution, persistent system, and quality of care gaps continue to prevent many postpartum women from receiving effective PPFP services in low-resource countries. Major barriers include problems at the health facility level, barriers to demand for PPFP, and weaknesses in underlying health system functions needed to support PPFP services. Unmet demand for PPFP services remains high in many countries, resulting in a failure to achieve Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies (HTSP) and indirectly contributing to high rates of maternal and child mortality.
This framework, developed by ASSIST, is designed to help managers and care providers at all system levels to understand common challenges in PPFP service delivery and specific solutions that may help to close these gaps. It outlines a new approach to improving PPFP services and outcomes, based on well-developed improvement methods that have proven effective and cost effective in other areas of health care. The framework provides a step-by-step approach for how PPFP programs can benefit from the application of improvement methods. A real life example, a case study from work conducted by ASSIST in Niger, is provided to orient participants on how to plan, implement, continuously assess, and refine interventions to improve PPFP services.
The report is based on extensive experience of ASSIST, managed by University Research Co., LLC (URC), and URC’s predecessor health improvement projects in various low- and middle-income settings. It complements the World Health Organization and USAID PPFP 2013 document Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning and the 2012 WHO Statement for Collective Action.
Tamar Chitashvili, MD, MHP&M
Senior Quality Improvement Advisor – Maternal and Child Health and Non-communicable Diseases
Quality & Performance Institute
USAID Apply Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project
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URC University Research Co., LLC – CHS Center for Human Services
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