Despite improvements in recent years, significant challenges persist regarding access to family planning services across sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, for example, the Guttmacher Institute has found that only 44% of pregnancies are planned, and approximately 1/3 of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. Furthermore, the Ugandan Ministry of Health estimates that roughly 26% of maternal mortality cases can be attributed to abortion-related consequences. Similarly, in Ghana, 37% of pregnancies are unintended, and 11% of maternal mortality cases in Ghana can be attributed to unsafe abortions.
By strengthening leadership, management, and governance practices, local partners can more effectively meet their health goals—in Uganda and Ghana, health goals related to family planning include reducing the occurrence of unintended pregnancies and associated maternal mortality.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), an LMG consortium partner, is a global federation comprised of member associations that work in the family planning and reproductive health services sector. Their network of member associations extends across sub-Saharan Africa and serves as an ideal partner for the scale-up of leadership, management, and governance practices. Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) and Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) are two member associations designated as IPPF “Learning Centers” whose mandate is to share best practices with other IPPF member associations and regional health organizations.
To support the Learning Centers’ mandate, Management Sciences for Health and IPPF through the LMG Project are currently working with RHU and PPAG to deliver and scale up the Leadership Development Program Plus (LDP+) for health facilitators in Uganda and Ghana. This new program empowers teams to face health challenges and achieve results, while putting an emphasis on institutional ownership, governance, and gender integration.
In order to empower RHU and PPAG to deliver and scale up the LDP+, technical experts from MSH provided a 4-day LDP+ training during March 2014 for 14 Ugandan facilitators and 19 Ghanaian facilitators. Through this training, they were exposed to the program’s experiential learning approach. They also developed a strategic action plan to deliver the program within their own organizations.
In the following 6 months, RHU will facilitate the program in 6 of its 17 facilities and PPAG will deliver it to 4 of its 11 facilities. This initial roll out will provide the experience to enable them to scale up the LDP+ within their entire network, other IPPF member associations and regional health organizations in the future. Through improved leadership, management, and governance capacity, reliable access to family planning services will be improved throughout sub-Saharan Africa to prevent unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal mortality.