Lucknow: District health officers, including Chief Medical Officers, Additional Chief Medical Officers, District Programme Managers and Divisional Programme Managers in Uttar Pradesh were felicitated by the State Government and Population Foundation of India (PFI) at an event held on 31st October 2017. The felicitation was organised by the Department of Medical Health and Family Welfare, State Innovations in Family Planning Services Agency, and National Health Mission to felicitate these officers for strengthening Family Planning services in 12 districts of the State. The felicitated health officers have shown positive impact in their districts by using the innovative District Working Group model implemented by PFI’s Advance Family Planning (AFP) programme.
The AFP programme is an advocacy initiative of PFI comprising family planning champions, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and regional health and development networks. It aims to increase financial investment and political commitment to ensure access to high quality, voluntary family planning through evidence-based advocacy. Its DWG model helps districts identify and manage resources across government departments, The DWG is a convergence- based model with multi-sectoral representation that includes members from government departments, NGOs and Community-based Organisations, corporates and other local stakeholders who have the capacity to advocate and influence decision makers. These groups helped to enhance integrated response at the district level, which is vital for accelerating the progress on family planning.
The AFP programme implemented in Uttar Pradesh since 2016 has successfully facilitated the initiation of Fixed Day Services at 190 facilities, in 8 districts for male and female sterilisations and Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) at the district and sub district levels. 82 facilities have been strengthened in four districts for providing quality services and the capacity of 69 service providers at various facilities has been increased. To support the outreach and advocacy component, approximately 25,878 frontline health workers have been trained on family planning. Funds to the tune of approximately 15 lakh rupees from the department of health as well as other departments such as Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) have been allocated for family planning within the districts.
Speaking on the occasion, Executive Director of PFI Poonam Muttreja said that providing access to better services will not just improve the family planning indicators of the state, but was also critical to achieving the larger developmental goals. In that sense, government departments working together under the DWG model have shown clear results in terms of availability of better services, which show the rise in demand for family planning. Mr. B K Jain, General Manager, SIFPSA highlighted that the success of the family planning programme would also be largely dependent on the other existing programmes and platforms such as education, Panchayati Raj, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), National Social Services (NSS), National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and Rural Development among others.
Some of the other key speakers at the felicitation event were Dr Irfan of NHM, Dr Aruna Narain of SIFPSA, Dr Umakant of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Ms Ratna Khare of PFI, Dr Rajesh Jha of NHM, Director ICDS, Mission Director PRI, other development partners and health officials.