Postpartum unmet need for family planning (FP) is high in the majority of USAID priority countries and multiple strategies are needed to reach women with services. Integration of services—either at the provider level, through linked services in a given service delivery point, or through coordinated referrals—takes advantage of existing health contacts. In some cases, integration offers distinct advantages; sometimes, integration can overwhelm a weak system.
The MCSP Reproductive Health and Immunization teams continue to work together to:
- Generate evidence on integration models on the impact of integrating on both immunization and FP outcomes; and
- Better understand the conditions when integration offers win-win advantages and when integration should be avoided.
In any country, an integrated service delivery approach should be developed in close collaboration with child health and immunization stakeholders. MCSP draws lessons from patient tracking efforts that link multiple Program technical teams and allow for improved continuity of care and follow up of postpartum women and babies. Opportunities to record and track reproductive intentions over time and offer timely reminders of when to start a FP method will be an object of implementation research.
The MCSP FP team continues to co-chair the FP-Immunization Working Group (along with FHI360), which involves hosting face-to-face and virtual meetings, and updating and promoting the FP-Immunization toolkit.