ExpandFP Project Builds Health Worker Capacity in Uganda
Faizah Namata, age 34, is a registered midwife at Kyanamukaka Health Center in Masaka District, Uganda. She started providing family planning (FP) services using her knowledge from school, but it was limited to short-acting methods, specifically injectables and the pill. When Faizah joined Kyanamukaka Health Center in July 2015, she was unable to offer clients long-acting FP methods, even when she tried to learn from colleagues about how to insert hormonal implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs).
The health center had only two midwives, and clients’ requests for long-acting FP methods and services could not always be met. Faizah reflected: “Whenever a mother missed out on adopting an FP method because of my inability to offer it, I would feel a lot of the pressure and a need to learn how to provide methods like implants and IUDs. I cannot forget a mother who missed getting her methods because I lacked the skill, yet I was the only one on duty; by the time she came back to get her FP method, she was already pregnant. This devastated me.”
Faizah admits that working in the maternity and postnatal wards was very challenging: When clients requested long-acting FP methods, she would have to call one of her trained colleagues. If her colleague was not there, the client missed out.
This all changed when Faizah participated in an implant insertion and removal training in August 2016 as well as a postpartum IUD training in February 2017, both of which were organized by EngenderHealth’s Expand Family Planning Project. As a result of these trainings, Faizah was able to perfect her skills and gain competence in implant insertion and removal, as well as both postpartum and interval insertion of the IUD.
After the trainings, Faizah and her colleagues at Kyanamukaka Health Center were supported through regular visits by EngenderHealth staff and the district health management supervisory team. In addition to routine FP service provision, Faizah and other providers utilize their skills during special service delivery events at Kyanamukaka as well as lower level facilities in the district. “After acquiring the skills to provide long-acting FP methods,” Faizah reflected, “I am always involved and actively take part in the FP outreaches and FP special days, where I continue to not only practice my skills, but also mentor other staff.”
Faizah reveals that since being trained, she has inserted more than 80 implants and removed 10, and she has provided 20 interval and seven postpartum IUD insertions. Faizah’s clients can now receive a wide range of FP services, and mothers no longer miss out on adopting the FP method of their choice because of lack of provider training.
Faizah concludes by stating: “I am very grateful for the support EngenderHealth’s Expand Family Planning Project has provided to me and other health workers, not only at Kyanamukaka Health Center, but in the whole district, in terms of building the capacity and support for the provision of quality FP services.”