Positive reception for Family Planning initiative in Western Province, PNG

The Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) Middle and South Fly Health Program (CMSFHP)and the North Fly Health Services Development Program (NFHSDP) have carried out supervisory visits for family planning services in Western Province. The programs are funded through Ok Tedi Development Foundation and Ok Tedi Mining Limited respectively, and both implemented by Abt JTA.

The visits are a component of the Marie Stopes PNG Family Planning Training, conducted in coordination with CMSFHP and NFHSDP in September. The training ran for two weeks in Kiunga with a total of nine health workers. Seven participants were from health facilities managed by the programs’ partners, Evangelical Church of PNG and North and South Fly District Health Services. There were also two participants from the NFHSDP.

The training was focused on client counselling and contraceptive implant insertions. The contraceptive implant is a family planning methods which is inserted in a woman’s inner upper arm, right under the skin. It works by releasing progestin, thereby preventing pregnancy, and can be removed at any time for normal fertility to return. It is also an efficient family planning method especially for women who can’t easily access health services.

The final component of the training is based on clinical competency. The participants receive their certificate based on their progress during the supervisory visits at their respective health facility. The visits have a focus on monitoring the health workers on the insertion of the contraceptive implant and how they provide other family planning services. So far visits have occurred at Suki and Obo Health Centres, and Rumginae and Kiunga Hospitals. The NFHSDP participants were able to practice at Ningerum Health Centre, and Tapila Health Centre is still to be visited.

During the supervisory visits, the CMSFHP team distributed client log books at the health facilities to record client information and the family planning methods received. They are collected on a monthly basis for the programs to monitor and to provide to Marie Stopes PNG for further competency assessments and monitoring and evaluation purposes.

The client log books have already provided valuable insights into the demographics of women who are receiving the contraceptive implant. The CMSFHP Primary Health Care Officer, Rita John, reports that 18% of the women are students at local schools. She also explains that “sexual health education and family planning services need to be available to young women and men as this will enable them to make right decisions regarding unwanted pregnancy and other sexual health issues such as sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.”

Since the training, 340 women have received the contraceptive implant. This number is expected to grow as community demand for this family planning method has been high. The CMSFHP and NFHSDP and its partners will continue to support the delivery of family planning services in more remote areas in Western Province.