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Muslim Faith Leaders as Family Planning Champions: An Experience from Kenya

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This poster was presented at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Kigali, Rwanda in November 2018.
World Vision is implementing a USAID-funded Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies/Family Planning (HTSP/FP) Project through a grant from the Advancing Partners & Communities Project (APC) in Northeastern Kenya in Garba Tulla. Mothers attending antenatal and maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) services are responsive to discussions about HTSP and receiving voluntary FP care. Reaching male partners who accompany their wives at MNCH and antenatal visits is also an opportunity to provide men with FP counseling and contraceptive methods. The project aims to increase access to and demand for voluntary FP care through integrating FP/HTSP into MNCH care and promoting male and religious leader involvement in related discussions. By working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) at five health facilities, the project has supported 120 community health volunteers and rolled out a strategy to engage men and religious leaders to strengthen demand and use voluntary FP methods. FP information and services were also provided at MNCH, antenatal, and postnatal visits.

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Muslim Faith Leaders as Family Planning Champions: An Experience from Kenya

  1. 1. METHODOLOGIES The project aims to increase access to and demand for voluntary FP care through integrating FP/HTSP into MNCH care and promoting male and religious leader involvement in related discussions. By working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) at five health facilities, the project has sup- ported 120 community health volunteers and rolled out a strategy to engage men and religious leaders to strength- en demand and use voluntary FP methods. FP information and services were also provided at MNCH, antenatal, and postnatal visits. The main strategy engaging faith leaders included: • Providing male Muslim leaders with information and skills to better understand, accept, and support the provision of MNCH/RH/FP information and services at the facility and community levels. • Engaging a reproductive health trainer from the Ministry of Health and a sheikh trained in HTSP/FP to lead training sessions. • Developing and using a training manual: Mobilizing Muslim Religious Leaders for Reproductive Health and Family Planning at the Community Level by Extending Service Delivery. • Training faith leaders to act as long-term advocates for the health of mothers and children. RESULTS • Muslim religious leaders trained in HTSP: 80 • Public HTSP messages: 380+ • Recipients of FP/MNCH services: 7,073 women, 3,597 men • Monitoring data show nearly 1/3 of all current FP users are men, with condoms and Standard Days Method (SDM) showing highest uptake. Among women using a family planning method, injectables (12%) and SDM (10%) were the most preferred methods reported. • Male community health workers, volunteers, and religious and local leaders have been successful in building consensus on the need for HTSP for healthy women, children, families, and communities. • Birth spacing is now discussed openly and in a manner consistent with religious beliefs of this conservative community. • HTSP messages resonate with imams, sheikhs, and fathers as they better understand the health and financial benefits that practicing HTSP/FP will bring their communities and families. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) is a cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development under Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-12-00047, beginning October 1, 2012. APC is implemented by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., in collaboration with FHI 360. We acknowledge the contributions of the Drug Shop Task Force of the participating health workers; VHTs, as well as the assistances of FHI 360/APC Uganda staff. The views expressed in this do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Community Health Volunteers Trained in HSTP/FP in Garba Tulla, 2014–2018 Female Male 65% 35% Baseline 2014 2017 Garba Tulla Women Using Modern Contraception (χ²=45.9, P<0.000) Muslim Faith Leaders as Family Planning Champions An Experience from Kenya Melanie Lopez1 , Lilian Chebon2 1 World Vision, U.S., 2 World Vision, Kenya. BACKGROUND Garba Tulla in northeastern Kenya's Isiolo County has one of the country's lowest rates (27%) of family planning (FP) uptake and a contraceptive prevalence rate of just 10.7%, both the result of geographic, cultural, and religious factors. In this semiarid region, 98% of the people are Muslims. Imams, sheikhs, teachers, other male community leaders, and men generally are the gatekeepers for their communities. Composed largely of pastoralists, this male-dominated soci- ety historically has strong cultural and religious proscriptions against family planning. PROGRAM INTERVENTION World Vision is implementing a USAID-funded Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies/Family Planning (HTSP/FP) Project through a grant from the Advancing Partners & Communities Project (APC) in Northeastern Kenya in Garba Tulla. World Vision introduced the HTSP/FP project in 2014. The key strategies are: • Increasing access to voluntary quality FP services. • Increasing demand for HTSP and modern contraceptive methods via community and target-group mobilization. • Creating an enabling environment for quality programs by using World Vision’s social accountability methodology. Iman engaging youth and adolescents in a family planning dialogue in Garba Tulla Family planning beneficiaries with In-Charge at Barambate Health Facility PROGRAM IMPLICATIONS Mothers attending antenatal and maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) services are responsive to discussions about HTSP and receiving voluntary FP care. Reaching male partners who accompany their wives at MNCH and antena- tal visits is also an opportunity to provide men with FP coun- seling and contraceptive methods. Men and religious leaders must be included in any success- ful family planning program. In Garba Tulla, they are consid- ered gatekeepers and authority figures in the community. HTSP training manuals are validated by, consistent with, and supported by the teachings of Islam. HTSP messages resonate with imams, sheikhs and fathers as they better un- derstand the health and financial benefits that practicing HTSP/FP will bring their communities and families. Melanie Lopez/World Vision Shano Guyo/World Vision 29% 38%

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