Family Planning Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations in Nigeria

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Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, MD of Management Sciences for Health (MSH) explains MSH's involvement in a project in Nigeria to involve religious leaders in advocating for family planning use and acceptance for …

Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, MD of Management Sciences for Health (MSH) explains MSH's involvement in a project in Nigeria to involve religious leaders in advocating for family planning use and acceptance for improved maternal and child health.

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  • 1. Partnership with faith based organizations: FP acceptance in Nigeria Stronger health systems. Greater health impact. Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, Chief of Party – Nigeria (MSH) Management Sciences for Health 1
  • 2. Background MSH supports the implementation of voluntary FP  Goal: improve poor health delivery system  Challenges: -religious and cultural resistance -high illiteracy rates -poor knowledge of reproductive health issues -distrust of foreign influence Management Sciences for Health 2
  • 3. Situation FP indicators • High TFR = 5.7 1/13 women dying in childbirth • Low CPR = 9.7% High maternal mortality rates: 545/100,000 live births infant mortality rates: 75/1,000 live births Slow FP uptake due to • Short birth spacing • Perceived religious prohibition against FP use Management Sciences for Health 3
  • 4. Religious Community • Christianity and Islam major religions practiced in the country • Religious leaders influence traditional practices at family households • Husbands- the decision makers of the family, value large families and cultural beliefs reject the use of high impact and lifesaving contraceptives • Both Christians and Muslims support use of FP but misconceptions, including the interpretation of FP as abortion and birth control Management Sciences for Health 4
  • 5. MSH Intervention in Nigeria (2007-2011) Nigeria Indigenous Capacity Building (NICaB) project  Collaboration with Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN) – objective of “Reaching the Unreached” - comprised of 4,400 hospitals, clinics, health programs and leprosaria centers, mostly located in rural areas  HIV/AIDS Treatment Care and Support project – MSH facilitated acceptance to FP commodities for women in six Management Sciences for Health 5
  • 6. MSH & CHAN partnership 3 methods of intervention: –community level – through religious leaders and community/village health workers for prevention including PMTCT and FP –care and support services –primary health center level –for the provision of HIV treatment and basic health services Management Sciences for Health 6
  • 7. MSH & CHAN partnership • Multi-prong strategy: – – – – • evidence-based local advocacy behavior change communication capacity building referral for commodity supply Use of language such as healthy timing and spacing pregnancy instead of FP Management Sciences for Health 7
  • 8. Community Level Intervention • Engage religious leaders to break barriers to FP • Trainers of Trainers (Imams, priests, nuns, and catechists) who trained service providers and volunteers from among women fellowship groups and the market women associations. • To incorporate advocacy for FP with the religious messages and mainstream FP discussion into other sectors of the project: HIV/AIDS, education, agriculture, water and sanitation • Use of religious leaders in community mobilization • through organized community meetings, in mosques and churches. Management Sciences for Health 8
  • 9. Health Facility Level • Integrated FP discussions into other clinic activities  counseling for HIV Testing and Counseling,  antenatal and post natal clinics • Trained clinic service providers to provide quality FP services depending on their faith Management Sciences for Health 9
  • 10. Results • Religious leaders helped remove barriers to FP • Sermons addressed: girl-child education, immunization, family planning, and antenatal care • Community members where religious leaders were engaged showed better understanding and an increasing acceptance of RH/FP Management Sciences for Health 10
  • 11. Conclusion: Partnership with Faith based Organizations … • Empowers religious leaders and the faith communities  to effectively tackle resistance to uptake of services  to improve communication with the use of appropriate language to sensitize potential FP users • Increases FP acceptance  with Intersectoral collaboration and the integration of FP messages into other development initiatives such as PMTCT  through multiple levels of influence: including individual, community and institutional factors are likely to improve acceptance of FP in faith communities. Management Sciences for Health 11