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“People are My Passion”: Empowering People and Communities for Family Planning

By

World Population Day 2017 – “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations”

Enward Daniel has seen first-hand the effects of poor access to family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) services in his community in Cross River state.  Many teenage girls get pregnant and have to drop out from school, missing out on building for their future. In many of these circumstances the children born to these girls grow up without their fathers.  

This situation is not unique to Enward’s community. Globally, the UN estimates 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services, to lack of support from their partners or communities. In Nigeria alone, more than eight million women need family planning but do not have the means to get these services.

Thirty-four-year-old, Enward feels Nigeria’s situation is because “many people don’t have accurate information on family planning. What they do know is full of myths and misconceptions passed around in the community.”

Enward Daniel, an Information Technology Programmer based in Cross River State, was trained by SIDHAS as a Reproductive Health Champion. His role is to support integrated family planning and HIV activities at a busy ART clinic supported by the Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) Project in Calabar.  This intervention by SIDHAS is an accelerated FP-HIV integration activity implemented with funding from PEPFAR through USAID.

Enward has trained other RH Champions* to serve as lay health workers at assigned HIV service sites and has conducted family planning advocacy and sensitization in his community. Furthermore, he actively counsels people living with HIV who attend the clinic and support group he mentors.

*SIDHAS currently supports one champion per site in 100 facilities in Cross River and Akwa Ibom state.

For more than 30 years, SIDHAS has worked in Nigeria to empower people and communities for improved access to family planning because as Enward has noted, “family planning is necessary in our environment”.

 

SIDHAS implements family planning and HIV/AIDS (FP-HIV) integration through two mechanisms: first as part of core SIDHAS integration activities in all 13 states where SIDHAS is implemented and more recently, the accelerated FP-HIV integration drive in the states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

The difference between the two approaches is that in accelerated FP-HIV integration states, SIDHAS supports integration of family planning within HIV service delivery points while in other states, the focus is more on strengthening HIV testing within FP settings and some focus on referrals from HIV to FP clinics. Integrating FP services into HIV prevention, care and treatment programs is of critical importance in both high and low level epidemics.

In Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, where PEPFAR Nigeria’s accelerated integration of FP and HIV/AIDS is implemented within SIDHAS supported sites, the overall objective is to strengthen FP/HIV integration for improved family planning services in PEPFAR supported facilities.

The key objectives to be undertaken over a two-year period include to:

  1. Strengthen and maintain an enabling environment for integrated FP/HIV services.
  2. Improve the provision and uptake of FP/HIV integrated services.
  3. Strengthen family planning commodity logistics through integration with HIV logistic systems

The project supports 100 sites across Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.

Conceptual Framework for Accelerated FP-HIV Integration

 

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