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MSI's expertise critical to ending preventable deaths in West Africa

Thursday 06 August 2015 Marie Stopes International Social franchising

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In West Africa the number of women using a modern contraceptive method can be as low as one in 10, the average number of children is five and maternal and infant mortality rates are amongst the world's worst.

In order to put an end to preventable mother and child deaths, Marie Stopes International supported the West Africa Health Organisation’s (WAHO) first ever Forum for Good Practices in Health in Burkina Faso.

The aim was to share best practice in reproductive health and family planning, including:

  • Increasing contraceptive use in rural areas of Sierra Leone by training community health workers to provide Depo-Provera safely and effectively.

  • The creation of a youth advisory committee in Burkina Faso, which increased the number of young people seeking contraception by more than a third.

  • A youth campaign in Ghana called ‘No Yawa’ (No Problems) which combined peer education, university debates and mobile messaging. As of June 2015 this had provided nearly 134,000 young people with sexual and reproductive health services.

  • The success of mobile teams and midwives (MS Ladies) in reaching over 36,000 additional users in Senegal between 2012 and June 2015 - around 15% of the government’s target of additional users of modern contraception in the six regions where Marie Stopes Senegal's mobile teams and MS Ladies are present.

  • An increase in the uptake of post-abortion family planning in Ghana from 55% of clients in 2009/2010 to 90% in 2012/2013 by focusing on counselling, providing a ‘one stop shop’ and establishing post-abortion contraception as a key indicator against which staff performance was measured.

  • Reinforcing public sector capacity to provide long-acting and reversible contraception (LARC) in 10 states in Nigeria by providing on-the-job training and ongoing supervision to over 1,000 nurses and midwives and 55 master trainers.

"WAHO really appreciates MSI's presence and support for this Forum," says Cletus Adohinzin, the WAHO Programme Manager for the KFW-funded Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention in the ECOWAS Region.

"Their presentations have showcased their expertise in delivery high quality services. Their focus on achieving impact and assisting the most vulnerable are critical components of the ongoing discussions on how to institutionalise the good practices that we have identified at this Forum and put an end to preventable maternal and child deaths once and for all."

Dr Fred Gbagbo, Director of Medical Development for Marie Stopes Ghana added:

“Marie Stopes International’s teams in West Africa are proud to have been able to contribute to these forums. We hope that they mark a concerted effort by national governments to not only identify good practices in family planning and reproductive health but also prioritise funding, so that these practices can be scaled up and lives can be saved.”

Following the Forum, recommendations on good practices will be shared with ECOWAS's Assembly of Health Ministers and a resolution highlighting countries' commitment to taking them to scale is expected in the coming weeks.

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