The 2007 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in Liberia indicated that there is a substantial unmet need for family planning (FP) using modern contraceptive methods. Of particular concern is the fact that 17% of births occur less than 24 months after the previous pregnancy, putting both mothers and their children at elevated risk of mortality. Moreover, according to an analysis of the 2007 DHS data conducted by MCHIP, less than 10% of women 6-12 months postpartum use any type of modern contraception. This same time period of 6-12 months postpartum is also when routine immunization typically takes place.
Based on previous promising experiences in other countries, MCHIP and MoHSW have developed a pilot initiative (with plans for national scale-up) to integrate family planning and routine infant immunization services. The approach requires that vaccinators provide a few short, targeted family planning messages to mothers bringing their children for routine immunization visits. For women who express interest in going for family planning services on the same day, vaccinators provide referrals to co-located family planning services. Targeted job aids and IEC materials have also been developed to support the process of integrating services.
MCHIP is also working in several counties in Liberia to strengthen skills of family planning providers, including in postpartum and postabortion family planning counselling and service provision.