Helping women make informed decisions about family planning
Investing in women’s access to and knowledge of family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services reduces maternal and child deaths. By helping women make informed decisions about where and when to expand their family, FP/RH services create healthier households. This work further strengthens a country’s social and economic development, impacting cross-cutting development areas including overall economic growth and employment, food security, education, health, and other critical areas. Despite the benefits, fewer than 20 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa access and use modern contraceptives.
FP/RH is a critical underpinning to strengthening the overall health of a population. Its programs strengthen access to and quality of family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH) services for women within primary health care programs. IMA assists governments in implementing up-to-date national FP/RH at the decentralized level in health facilities, strengthening infrastructure for quality service delivery, and training community- and facility-health care workers to provide FP/RH services. IMA also helps health systems forecast and meet family planning commodity needs, connecting women to a variety of contraceptive methods.
IMA’s work to expand family planning and reproductive health services is yielding results for thousands of women in the DRC and South Sudan. In DRC, for example, the Access to Primary Health Care Project (ASSP) and the Women’s Leadership Projects linked more than 80,000 women to modern family planning methods in 2014, and educated nearly 150,000 men and women on the benefits of family planning.
Access to Primary Health Care Project (ASSP)
IMA works in 56 health zones within five provinces to ensure women access critical FP services and commodities through the government’s essential health package. In addition to improving service delivery through capacity building and training, IMA delivers family planning and reproductive commodities to hundreds of health facilities ($5.4 million in medicines total during 2013). The DFID-funded project is also constructing 250 new health centers and rehabilitating 200 more, better equipping health facilities to address women’s FP/RH needs.
Ushindi Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Treatment and Prevention Project
IMA ensures survivors of sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) access quality FP/RH services. As part of the project’s holistic approach, IMA links SGBV survivors to FP/RH access and counseling as part of overall Ushindi counseling and support services. Survivors also received reproductive health care to address issues arising from abuse. By the end of 2014, the USAID-funded Ushindi project counseled more than 22,073 survivors, providing critical FP/RH information for their health and well-being. Through the project, 13,180 survivors received medical support at the health center level.
Women’s Leadership Project
The Women’s Leadership Project, also funded by USAID, was designed and implemented as a two-year add-on (2013-2014) to Ushindi to promote women’s empowerment through better control of their reproductive cycle, as well as community outreach on women’s rights and good governance and leadership.
Provision of Reproductive Health Services (UNFPA) Project
IMA helps vulnerable populations and internally-displaced persons access timely, effective, and quality reproductive health services in Jonglei State. The project provides new services through mobile clinics and outreach and through strengthening local capacity to implement the Minimum Initial Service Package for RH, including GBV and STI/HIV services. IMA also supports SRH outreach activities in partnership with community-based organizations or support groups. To date, more than 1,500 women have attended two or more antenatal care visits, with 90 percent receiving HIV counseling and testing.
Rapid Results for Health Project
IMA ensured that health facilities in this World Bank-funded 24 County primary health care improvement project provided essential family planning services and commodities. By using innovative performance-based contracting, IMA incentivized the health workers to provide quality FP/RH services, and report their work in the appropriate monitoring and evaluation systems to government to track overall FP/RH access.
Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Project
IMA is increasing access to cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment in high-prevalence areas. Through the project, IMA trains health care workers in visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) screening and cryotherapy treatment, provides screening equipment and supplies, and increases community awareness on the importance of screening and early detection. IMA’s projects have screened more than 40,000 women and provided more than 300 women with same-day treatment.