Family planning symbol used to demonstrate the story.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Efforts to improve the family planning data collection and presentation capacity in Plateau State have received a boost as the Society for Family Health through the Delivering Innovation in Self-Care, DISC project trained health personnel from selected Primary Healthcare Centres in the State to increase their capacity for proper recording of family planning services using acceptable data collection tools.

The trainees which include family planning supervisors, monitoring and evaluation staff and other stakeholders; drawn from seven local government areas of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos East, Jos North and Jos South were also trained on DISC empathy counselling skills to support clients on their self-injection journey.

The training, organized in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Plateau State Ministry of Health, the State Primary Healthcare Board and implementing partners also addressed the challenges with data quality in family planning reporting at the facilities, local and State levels.

Explaining the importance of the training, Mopelola Raji of the Society for Family Health noted that so much work has been done at the grassroots in the area of self-injected family planning method and other methods but poor data collection and presentation remain a gap that hampers good decision-making on issues of family planning and stressed that the proper use of data to inform supply/disbursements would ensure family planning commodities security and avoid wastage while addressing demand for limited resources.

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According to her, “What we are doing is to have a co-creation workshop where we sat with the State actors to look at the implementation of the DISC project so far in the State and identify sustainable plans. We look at the intervention DISC is doing that the government can replicate and carry forward. We identified cost-effective interventions that the State through the Ministry of Health and the Primary Healthcare Board can do at little or no cost.

“We engaged in a two-day data strengthening capacity building support for the State and the Monitoring and Evaluation Officers and the Family Planning Supervisors from the local government areas of the State benefited. We also did the empathy-based counselling training and it is about giving the providers knowledge, skills and the confidence for them to be able to support women to self-inject. We are also looking at the NHMIS register so the participants can be able to understand the indicators and be able to report properly.”

She further stressed, “We are trying to breach the gaps between the programmatic data and what is on the NHMIS. We went into the facilities and we saw that they are doing so much but the hard work is not showing on the national database which is the NHMIS and that is what we are doing to look into the register and the monthly summary form and identify the teething challenges so that we can bridge the gap. This is to showcase the good work that Plateau State is doing as well as provide the data for better decision-making at all levels.

“In this training, we are able to look at the registers and the indicator, particularly with the focus on the DMPSC-SI (an injectable contraceptive) reporting. The SI is designed to empower women to administer it on their own with less frequent visits to the facility and ensure privacy for the women so no one knows if they don’t want to disclose. It increases their autonomy.

“The indicator for SI reporting is on the NHMIS but there are different ways that the data has been documented in terms of entry so we are here to ensure that people interpret the indicator correctly so at the end of the day, the State can extrapolate the number of self-injection visits as well as be able to get the quantity of the injectable that is being used and this would better inform the quantification of the need for that contraceptive by the State as well as for them to be able to project the right quantity and sent it so the Federal Ministry of Health can provide them the commodity.”

A Community Health Officer with the Federal Ministry of Health, Omolola Ogunleye commended the participants for the efforts they are making in the area of family planning service provision, data collection and presentation and urged them to use the opportunity to update their knowledge and ensure the right things are done.

The State Family Planning Coordinator, Asabe Mwansat added that the training was “very useful because it is about quality data collection and data strengthening so that we can add value since data is very key.”

She stated, “We discovered that in the work we are doing, correct recording of data is a problem that is why we are here to ensure that the recording of the data is done correctly so that the donors who are supporting the State will know that what they have put in the State has counted. We don’t want our women to come to the facilities and there are no commodities to meet their needs so the data speaks to show the quantities of commodities that would be brought to the State so that women can access them.”