Trained, High-Performing Providers

Good-quality family planning services require a strong human resource system, a supportive working environment, and motivated providers who are well-trained in clinical procedures. Providers should also have up-to-date knowledge of contraceptive technology and good interpersonal communication skills.

Having a sufficient, well-trained, supervised, and motivated staff is the most important element of success for family planning programs—and perhaps the hardest to achieve—according to a 2007 worldwide poll of nearly 500 health care professionals.

For resources on training clinicians in family planning, please see K4Health’s package of method-specific toolkits, including toolkits on InjectablesImplantsIUDs, Oral Contraceptives, Condoms, the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), the Standard Days Method, and the TwoDay Method. Toolkits on Female Sterilization and Vasectomy are forthcoming. Another major training resource is the Training Resource Package for Family Planning, which includes curriculum components and tools needed to design, implement, and evaluate family planning training programs. The materials in the Training Resource Package are based on the technical guidance found in Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. In addition, K4Health hosts over 50 eLearning courses, many of them related to family planning.

Many cadres of health professionals, including nurses, auxiliary nurse-midwives, physicians, pharmacists, and community health workers, can be trained to provide family planning services. To offer high-quality care, family planning service providers need training on a range of topics, including:

  • Screening clients for medical eligibility for contraceptive methods
  • Offering client-centered family planning services
  • Counseling clients on contraceptive options, correct use of contraceptives, how to handle side effects, and other related issues

Health workers also need:

  • Adequate workspace, equipment, and supplies
  • A way to be rewarded or promoted for good work
  • Supportive supervision including two-way communication
  • A method for updating their knowledge and skills, such as in-service training

Many of these same elements are also needed for community-based family planning programs, where local health workers distribute contraceptives, store supplies, provide mobile services, and work with the private sector. (See K4Health’s Community-Based Family Planning Toolkit.)