Are trained family planning service providers competent? analyzing the results of diagnostic workshops to improve capacity building in family planning
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RTI International, USAID ReachHealth, Pasig City, Philippines, Philippines
RTI International
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A699
Background and Objective:
Family planning (FP) service provider’s competence is critical to delivering quality FP counselling and services. Hence, the necessity of continuous trainings that capacitate FP providers until they become proficient in FP service provision. However, in many parts of the Philippines, most capacity building activities end with the training itself. USAID ReachHealth found in 2019 that only 302 of 1,969 FP-trained primary care providers in 12 cities and provinces in the Philippines have undergone a post-training evaluation. To address this gap, local governments conducted diagnostic workshops (DW) to efficiently assess, evaluate, certify, and mentor FP providers.

The DW for FP gathers 15 to 25 nurses and midwives to undergo knowledge assessment through written tests, and skills assessment through objective structured clinical examination. It allows program managers and trainers to identify providers’ weaknesses and address them purposefully. USAID ReachHealth analyzed the results of DWs from 2018 to 2022 to identify the concepts and skills that must be emphasized or reinforced during trainings and succeeding coaching activities, and inform the strengthening of FP capacity building interventions.

Twenty-one workshops attended by 371 participants were reviewed. Fifty-three percent were found competent and endorsed for certification while 47% either had to be coached or retrained. While most of the evaluated providers had strong interpersonal skills, they needed coaching in addressing missed contraceptive pills and providing information on lactational amenorrhea method, among others. These aspects also need to be reinforced in basic FP courses offered by the Philippine Department of Health.

Not all trained providers are competent in FP services. Hence, continuous capacity building, including mentoring that specifically targets their weaknesses, is necessary. The DW is an effective and efficient way to assess the knowledge and skills of providers. It is also a viable approach to strengthening FP capacity building interventions.

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