Evidence is an integral part of our programmes in helping us to improve how we deliver our services, to assess the feasibility of reaching more under-served people, and gather evidence to support advocacy and policy for family planning.
Our research programme helps us understand who our clients are and where unmet need for contraception is highest, the impact that different models of delivery are having, and how we can increase the uptake of the full range modern contraceptive methods.
In family planning, we carry out a range of operational research with the aim of better understanding how to increase access to, and acceptability of, modern contraception for those who choose to space or limit the number of children they have.
Increasing access to family planning
In many countries, our national research teams use quantitative and qualitative approaches to identify the factors underlying contraceptive uptake, discontinuation and failure and to understand .
In some countries our teams are conducting research studies on the behavioural and social factors which influence first time contraceptive use in countries with low contraceptive prevalence rates. And across Asia, we are implementing a research programme to evaluate the impact of innovative health system approaches, social franchising and demand-side financing mechanism (vouchers), on improving access to health outcomes.
In order to evaluate the impact of our core family planning programmes, we use the metric of “couple years of protection” (CYPs) which measures our results for contraception in protecting couples from unintended pregnancies. We are also starting to track the proportion of those CYPs that have high impact nationally – such as contraception delivered to the poorest women or those living in remote locations.
Using Impact 2, a socio-demographic mathematical model, we can estimate our contribution to increasing the national contraceptive rate, as well as our impact on averting unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal deaths and other demographic and health indicators.
We also place emphasis on using evidence in a timely manner to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and quality of our health programmes. Service delivery and project data are collected from outreach teams, social franchisees and local clinics, which are then transferred to our country head offices who use the data to identify trends and areas in need of improvement. We are investing in automating our management information system using the latest technology such as netbooks and mobile phones to transfer data more efficiently.
Our Evidence and Innovation Team works in partnership with our country teams, governments and other organisations. It’s a multidisciplinary team with expertise in epidemiology, statistics, population dynamics, qualitative research and health economics.