Participatory approaches involving community and healthcare providers in family planning/contraceptive information and service provision: a scoping review
Cordero, Joanna P
Smit, Jennifer A.
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As efforts to address unmet need for family planning and contraception (FP/C) accelerate, voluntary use, informed choice and quality must remain at the fore. Active involvement of affected populations has been recognized as one of the key principles in ensuring human rights in the provision of FP/C and in improving quality of care. However, community participation continues to be inadequately addressed in large-scale FP/C programmes. Community and healthcare providers’ unequal relationship can be a barrier to successful participation. This scoping review identifies participatory approaches involving both community and healthcare providers for FP/C services and analyzes relevant evidence. The detailed analysis of 25 articles provided information on 28 specific programmes and identified three types of approaches for community and healthcare provider participation in FP/C programmes. The three approaches were: (i) establishment of new groups either health committees to link the health service providers and users or implementation teams to conduct specific activities to improve or extend available health services, (ii) identification of and collaboration with existing community structures to optimise use of health services and (iii) operationalization of tools to facilitate community and healthcare provider collaboration for quality improvement. Integration of community and healthcare provider participation in FP/C provision were conducted through FP/C-only programmes, FP/C-focused programmes and/or as part of a health service package. The rationales behind the interventions varied and may be multiple. Examples include researcher-, NGO- or health service-initiated programmes with clear objectives of improving FP/C service provision or increasing demand for services; facilitating the involvement of community members or service users and, in some cases, may combine socio-economic development and increasing self-reliance or control over sexual and reproductive health. Although a number of studies reported increase in FP/C knowledge and uptake, the lack of robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and quantitative and comparable data resulted in difficulties in generating clear recommendations. It is imperative that programmes are systematically designed, evaluated and reported.
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