Integrated Family Planning and Immunization Services in Senegal
While many Senegalese mothers visit health facilities to immunize their newborns, far fewer discuss family planning options with a health worker. Integrating family planning counseling into immunization services is a promising practice to address reproductive health needs in the extended postpartum period. A project supported by Ideas42 and IntraHealth developed a behaviorally informed model that integrates these two services to help more women access the family planning option that is right for them.
Their behavioral diagnosis on the obstacles to discussing FP during immunizations days identified barriers to integration for both health workers and clients:
- Health workers have a narrow view of the purpose of “immunization days” that leads them to prioritize immunizations over other postpartum services. At the same time, they receive no cues to help them remember to discuss FP during this vital moment.
- Clients may not yet have considered a need for FP, instead perceiving that events outside their control will decide if they have closely spaced births, or that FP is only for women who have finished having all their children.
The team developed a model of integrated service delivery that supports health workers in providing new mothers with balanced counseling on immunization, nutrition, and birth spacing. Through multiple pilot tests, they found that this model led to promising signs of changes in client and provider behavior consistent with effective integration of family planning and immunization services.
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