The United Nations Population Fund is working in Rajasthan to strengthen the implementation of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) and Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) initiatives, and ensure availability of right-based family planning services in the State, observes Elets News Network (ENN).
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working to expand the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives. UNFPA has been assisting the Government of India since 1974 to provide family planning and health services, advance reproductive health and rights and improve maternal health. UNFPA’s 9th country programme (2018-2022) is aligned with the Government of India’s priorities, Sustainable Development Goals Framework and International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Agenda.
UNFPA in the State of Rajasthan is closely working with the Department of Medical, Health & Family Welfare (DMH&FW) to strengthen the implementation of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) and initiatives under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram besides ensuring availability of quality of family planning services in the State.
Support for strengthening family planning programme
As per the The National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16), total fertility Rate (TFR) in the state has declined to 2.4 from 3.2 in 2005-06 (NFHS-3), however, there is a huge inter-district variation with several districts in the State having TFR of more than 3. Besides that, early pregnancy and less spacing between two children also contributes to high maternal and infant mortality. Family planning services not only help couples in planning their family but it also contributes in reducing the maternal and infant mortality and improving overall quality of life.
UNFPA in the State of Rajasthan is closely working with the DMH&FW to strengthen the availability of right-based family planning services. UNFPA has provided support for critical activities, including review of the family planning programme and orientation of officials on quality assurance guidelines and order by Supreme Court for strengthening quality of such services.
UNFPA’s support has resulted in increased pool of service providers, improved availability of family planning services, increased focus on quality of services, evidencebased planning and monitoring and strengthened roll-out of MPV (Mission Parivaar Vikas), FPLMIS (Family Planning Logistics Management Information System) and newer contraceptives in the state. Some of the key activities undertaken in state for strengthening quality of family planning programme and improving its utilisation are:
Strengthening family planning services
In order to strengthen the implementation of family planning programme and development of action plan, UNFPA in the partnership with DMH & FW has facilitated orientation of State, district and block level officials. In 2018, two workshops were organised under the chairpersonship of Special Secretary and MD (Managing Director), National Health Mission in which detailed review of progress of family planning were undertaken and also block specific action plans were prepared to improve the availability and utilisation of services. During these workshops, orientation of the district and block level officials on the quality related issues were also undertaken.
These workshops were attended by more than 350 participants. Organisation of these workshops helped in strengthening the planning and implementation of family planning services at the field level.
In order to orient district officials and service providers on quality related issues, a State level orientation workshop was organised. It was attended by senior officials from MoHFW & DMH&FW Division, districts and representatives from development partners. Besides that, in previous years, UNFPA in partnership with DMH&FW and SIHFW, facilitated divisional level orientation workshops. These orientation workshops were attended by over 400 officials including joint directors, additional/deputy chief medical and health officers, block chief medical officers, service providers from DQACs, RMNCH+A counsellors and statistical assistants.
Development of a website to improve the participation of private service providers in provision of FP services on the State – UNFPA is supporting DMH&FW in development of a website to reduce the delays in accreditation and release of payments to private sector. This will help in improving the participation of private sector in provision of family planning services. It will also strengthen the monitoring of performance of private sector service providers.
Development of E-Saadhan software
In order to strengthen the supply chain of family planning commodities, UNFPA has provided technical support to DMH&FW in the development of the E-Saadhan software. The E-Saadhan was rolled-out till PHC level and it helped in the improving supply chain management of family planning commodities and provided data on real time basis of monitoring for decision making. A team of representatives from different development partners visited the State to observe the implementation of the E-Saadhan and learning from the visit, helped in designing FP Logistics Management Information System (FPLMIS) at the national level. UNFPA is closely working with the FP Division at DMH&FW in rolling out of FPLMIS in the state.
Development of protocols
In order to strengthen the quality of FP protocols, a set of 9 protocols were developed with UNFPA’s support and in partnership with DMH&FW & SIHFW. These protocols cover different components/ services related to FP including FP services available, fixed day services management, waste management, equipment & supplies, sterilization of equipment, QAC functions and process for giving compensations. These protocols were distributed to the identified delivery points in the State. The usage of protocols is helping in strengthening counselling of FP services, improving quality and infection prevention practices.
In order to strengthen the programme implementation and provide inputs for strengthening quality of services, UNFPA in the partnership with FP Division at the DMH&FW has facilitated different studies and assessments. UNFPA in partnership with DMH&FW and PGI Chandigarh has facilitated a study to assess the quality of PPIUCD services. Besides that, assessment of static centers and youth friendliness of services were undertaken to address the existing gaps & make services young people friendly. Also, support is provided in strengthening the roll-out of injectables in the State through monitoring the quality and providing hand holding support in partnership with DMH&FW and PSS. Further, telephonic survey of availability of FP commodities with ASHA were undertaken on periodic basis to observe the status of availability of FP commodities at the field level.
Support for critical training
UNFPA has closely worked with the FP Division in DMH&FW to facilitate the critical trainings related to FP programme. UNFPA has supported capacity building of counsellors, service providers, district, block & field level officials for strengthening availability & quality of FP services and roll-out of newer contraceptives, MPV and FPLMIS in the State.
The Way Forward
UNFPA is providing support for critical FP activities to DMH&FW and UNFPA’s support has resulted in improving availability and quality of family planning services in the State. UNFPA will continue to work with the department in improving provision of right based family planning services in the State.