Family Planning

Family planning in Sierra Leone

Family Planning

Family Planning

Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies. It is achieved using contraceptive methods and the treatment of infertility.

The unmet need for family planning in Sierra Leone is estimated at 25 percent for all women, and as high as 30 percent among adolescents aged 15-19 years (SLDHS 2013). The total fertility rate is high and estimated at 4.9 children per woman. To achieve the transformative results to end the unmet need for family planning, the country office strengthened partnerships to provide sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning services, supported the strengthening of supply chain systems, built capacity for rights-based family planning services.

Strengthening the supply chain system

While knowledge of contraception is widespread, the Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) is low, at 16 percent one of the lowest in the West and Central Africa region. UNFPA continues
to provide over 95 percent of family planning commodities in the country, made possible with generous funding from the UNFPA Supplies programme and UK aid through the Saving Lives
Programme. Commodities worth over USD2.9million were procured and distributed to 1,354
government health facilities, Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone, and Marie Stopes Sierra Leone. These include contraceptive implants (Levoplant and Jadelle), contraceptive injectables (Depo-provera and Noristerat), emergency contraceptive pills, combined oral contraceptive pills, progesterone only pills, male and female condoms, and subcutaneous DepoSayana Press.

In 2017, UNFPA engaged in a number of activities to ensure the availability of reproductive health and family planning commodities, and commodity security in Sierra Leone. These weaknesses are crippling the distribution of family planning commodities and leading to stock-outs, hence UNFPA supported the Department of Drugs and Medical Supplies with financial and technical support for commodity quantification, forecasting, ordering, capacity building and distribution.

To improve the quality of the logistics management and information system in the country, UNFPA financially supported district information officers who manage the CHANNEL software used for commodity management at the national level in 13 districts. Additionally, UNFPA assisted in strengthening their skill set, and provided necessary equipment such as computers to enable them to analyse data and present the findings at the national level.

In 2017, 504 health facilities across the country were monitored by 174 chiefdom monitors to generate evidence-based data on the stock of reproductive health supplies.  The data is used to inform the Directorate of Drugs and Medical Supply, and District Health Management Teams, to ensure health facilities reporting stock-outs are provided with supplies of reproductive health commodities.

Training family planning providers

In 2017, UNFPA’s support to the Government of Sierra Leone and other partners in the area of family planning aimed to address this gap to enhance the service providers' technical knowledge, professional proficiency and skills through competency-based hands-on training.

UNFPA provided technical support to the Government’s reproductive and family planning programme to develop a short-term family planning methods training curriculum using a competency-based approach. The training curriculum included the development of a service providers’ handbook and a trainers’ manual. A total of 520 training manuals and 1,530 service provider manuals were supplied to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for distribution at training sessions.

The new training manuals were used by UNFPA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to train 380 service providers in quality family planning services. A total of:

• 240 service providers were trained in longterm family planning methods (implants and IUDs) in 11 districts (Bombali, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Kambia, Port Loko, Kailahun, Kono, Bo, Pujehun Bonthe and Western Area Rural).

• 140 service providers were also trained in short-term family planning methods (oral contraceptive pills, emergency contraceptive pills, contraceptive injectables, male and female condoms) in four districts (Bombali, Kenema, Bo and Moyamba).

Improving family planning service delivery

UNFPA collaborates with government and international NGOs such as Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone and Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, to provide family planning and SRH outreach services to marginalized women, girls and other vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach areas. In addition, three national NGOs, Haikal, FINE-Sierra Leone and Matei Initiative Empowerment Program for Sustainable Development (MATCOPS), are supported to distribute contraceptives through non-formal distribution channels.

 

With UNFPA’s assistance, potential family planning clients received both long-term and short-term family planning services. They also received treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and information on the benefits of delivering their children at health clinics. Clients were also provided with integrated SRH outreach services in 10 supported districts (Western Area Urban, Western Area Rural, Kenema, Kambia, Pujehun, Moyamba, Kailahun, Bo, Port Loko and Koinadugu). UNFPA also supported the provision of family planning services in 1,354 government health facilities depending on their needs to provide quality family planning services. All of these facilities had different cadres of service providers who were trained in family planning and supplied with good quality contraceptive commodities.

In late 2017, UNFPA’s work resulted in the achievement of a combined Couple Year of Protection (the estimated protection provided by contraceptive methods in a one-year period) in both the public and private sector, of 372,066 people. A total of 386,091 new acceptors, and 59,662 adolescents and young people, were reached with family planning messages to increase their awareness and demand for family planning services.