Best Investment for a Healthier World


Health Workers put Family Planning Clients First

By Cole Bingham, Jhpiego & Liz Eddy, Maternal and Child Survival Program

In recent years the global health community has galvanized around a call to fulfill the unmet contraceptive needs of 225 million women, most of whom live in developing countries.

Frontline health workers are absolutely critical to meeting these needs. They offer the first and often the only opportunity for adolescents, women and couples to learn about and receive high-quality family planning services.

The potential impact of universal access to family planning is staggering. The counselors, nurses, midwives and doctors who offer family planning services could avert more than 30% of maternal deaths and as much as 13% of child mortality.

Frontline health workers hold three key ingredients of family planning success:

  1. They’re in the community: To achieve our global health goals, we must reach women and families where they live, even in the hardest-to-reach places on the planet, with family planning services. Frontline health workers represent one of the best entry points into the community.
  2. They’re leaders: Expanding family planning coverage requires leadership, passion and innovation. Frontline health workers are well positioned in their communities and facilities to improve and expand family planning services. They can get men involved, improve service schedules, develop job aids for their coworkers, generate excitement in their facilities, and much, much more.
  3. They can reach young people: Unmet family planning need among adolescents is particularly high; young girls face major health, societal and economic risks if they become pregnant. Frontline health workers who provide youth-friendly services are key to reaching this population.

Nurse Marian, a model family planning champion developed by the United States Agency for International Development’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program, is a great example of a model frontline health worker. She counsels a range of clients in the community on family planning options, and makes sure she puts their needs first.

Here is what we mean when we say that #HealthWorkersCount 4 #FamilyPlanning:

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