Family Planning, HIV, Costed Planning, and Domestic Resources Take Center Stage as HP+ Closes Work in the West Africa Region
June 2022 —
HP+ West Africa held an end-of-project event June 24, 2022, in Lomé, Togo and virtually to highlight the impact of HP+ activities in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Togo, Benin, and Guinea. The event was attended by more than 100 leaders in the region, including representatives of Togo’s health ministry, the U.S. Embassy in Togo, the Ouagadougou Partnership, and the West African Health Organization. Four panel discussions focused on costed implementation plans, joint advocacy for policy change, domestic resource mobilization for family planning, and sustainability, and featured impactful results such as Burkina Faso's increased contraception rate from 18 percent to nearly 30 percent over the course of the project. “A partner like HP+ made it possible to substantially improve the enabling environment…that allowed us to advocate for the increase of domestic financing for the repositioning of family planning,” said Marie Ba of the Ouagadougou Partnership.
Strengthening Capacity of Local and Governmental Organizations to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination in Burkina Faso
April 2022 —
HP+’s capacity strengthening activities in three regions in Burkina Faso are part of efforts to increase the rate of COVID-19 vaccination. At the grassroots level, HP+ conducted advocacy activities with more than 800 community and religious leaders to facilitate their engagement in the promotion of COVID-19 vaccination. These leaders adapted HP+’s tailored messages to drive behavior change. In the Center, Hauts-Bassins, and Centre-Nord regions, vaccination coverage increased from 1.6, 4.3, and 1.5 percent in December 2021, respectively, to 5.1, 15.5, and 6.2 percent after campaigns in January 2022. At the governmental level, HP+ helped organize workshops in the three regions where more than 50 regional health directorate staff and 86 health district staff were briefed in COVID-19 vaccine logistics and management as well as communication and key messages for the population. HP+ also supported the organization of 19 district-level advocacy meetings in the three regions. The national Ministry of Health is planning to implement HP+’s approach in other regions of the country as part of its vaccination rollout.
COVID-19 Rumor Surveillance Tool Helps Identify Vaccine Misinformation in Burkina Faso
April 2022 —
The COVID-19 vaccination rollout strategy in Burkina Faso has been challenged by the proliferation of misinformation spread through the community, including through social media and other local media, which can lead to vaccine hesitancy. To address the situation, HP+, in concert with the Communications Unit of the Ministry of Health, first identified rumors and misinformation. The project then identified themes and developed messages with key responses stratified by audience (healthcare workers and the general population). Evidence-based information to address rumors and increase vaccination coverage has been disseminated through training and advocacy briefings with government, healthcare workers, civil society, bloggers, influencers, and local radio.
Nearly 1,000 Vaccinated in One-Day U.S. Embassy Campaign in Burkina Faso
October 2021 —
In Ouagadougou on September 25, 2021, 956 people received COVID-19 vaccines in one day, representing twice the daily average of people vaccinated in all the 88 vaccination sites in the Central Region since the start of Burkina Faso’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out. The mass vaccination event for adults was hosted by the U.S. Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and organized by HP+, which also managed transportation logistics for vaccine delivery, promoted participation through traditional and social media, and coordinated and supervised the team administering the vaccines. The vaccines administered were part of a shipment of 302,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine provided by the U.S. Government, which supports immunization in Burkina Faso through the COVAX initiative and a bilateral partnership. This one-day event was a major boost to the country’s vaccination effort, which was launched on June 2, 2021. Prior to the event, only 2.4 percent of the country's targeted population was immunized. General Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Wilfried Ouedraogo, praised the initiative and support of the U.S. Government to mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in Burkina Faso.
Local Leaders in Burkina Faso Mobilize to Support Family Planning
August 2021 —
The Burkina Faso national government, local officials, and community leaders recently agreed to a plan to coordinate family planning activities in two eastern communes. The signed partnership agreement, facilitated by HP+, enabled an annual allocation of FCFA 2 million (approximately US$3,600) for community leaders in Fada/Dori and Kaya communes to continue conducting awareness-raising activities on local radio, in health facilities, and during cross-generation dialogue. Parties to the agreement are the Ministry of Health, the East Region municipality of Fada, health districts, and the local community leaders’ union (Union des Religieux et Coutumiers du Burkina pour la Santé et le Développement or URCB/SD). The agreement is just one effort in Burkina Faso to promote family planning as a way to lower birth rates and infant mortality. Through the Sahel project, HP+ collaborated with URCB/SD to map community influencers and potential family planning spokespersons in three regions. A total of 720 local leaders were identified and trained in family planning promotion. Afterward, they held sessions on community radio and organized awareness sessions in health and social promotion centers. The messages were developed by the leaders and linked family planning advocacy to holy texts and cultural values. In each region, the leaders held an intergenerational dialogue on sexual and reproductive health with more than 30 participants including other traditional leaders, religious leaders, women, youth, teachers, and parents. Finally, leaders held advocacy meetings with local elected officials and health officials, where they shared community feedback from their family planning awareness-raising experiences and discussed ways to sustain the interventions, which were appreciated by their constituencies.
Burkina Faso Moves to Digitize its Community Health Information
June 2021 —
Community health stakeholders have developed a roadmap for digitization of community health information in Burkina Faso to improve data management and health service delivery at the community level. The roadmap, which describes digitization interventions in all of the country’s 13 regions, grew out of a workshop supported by HP+ and organized by the Ministry of Health. The workshop aligned technical and financial partners involved in the digitization of community health data and was chaired by Burkina Faso Health Minister Prof. Charlemagne Ouedraogo. Also participating were USAID and partners Digital Square, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Living Goods, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, UNICEF, Terre des Hommes, the Malaria Consortium, Abba’s International Healing Center, and the Red Cross. The alignment workshop explored the use of CommCare, a platform for building and deploying data applications in low-resource settings. Following the workshop, USAID announced it will contribute $1 million to the digitization effort, to include a coordination role for HP+. A task force will be established to oversee and coordinate implementation of the roadmap.
Analyzing Indirect Health Impacts of COVID-19 in Burkina Faso
July 2020 —
HP+ analyzed how COVID-19 may disrupt health services in Burkina Faso, based on the level of face-to-face interaction with healthcare workers required to deliver interventions and the degree to which the interventions are time-sensitive or can be delayed without significant health impacts. Across the five health areas analyzed—family planning, maternal and child health, tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria—authors estimate that between 4,800 and 19,700 additional deaths could occur in 2020 alone as a result of disruptions from the pandemic. Burkina Faso is taking steps to maintain essential services and find ways to adjust service delivery models to mitigate these potential impacts.
Burkina Faso's Stewardship of Family Planning Access is Model for the Region
May 2020 —
In December 2019, Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health launched a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan to measure its progress on increasing contraceptive access. The finalization and implementation of the Costed Implementation Plan M&E plan is an important milestone showcasing the country’s commitment to increasing modern contraceptive prevalence, which at 30.7 percent, is the highest in the West Africa region. The M&E plan was developed following the formation of a multisectoral steering committee and thematic groups comprised of public, private sector and civil society representatives who advocated for a tool to track progress, a model for the region. Read our news story for more details.
Elimination of User Fees to Strengthen the Epidemic Response in Burkina Faso
March 2020 — In March 2020, the government of Burkina Faso adopted a policy that eliminates user fees for all HIV testing, care, and treatment services, as well as related medical and diagnostic needs. The policy was adopted following HP+-supported stakeholder dialogues, including dissemination and deliberation of evidence on cost and programmatic factors for HIV services and strategies to eliminate HIV-related user fees. The new policy, expected to eliminate financial barriers for those seeking HIV testing and for people living with HIV receiving routine care, diagnostic, and treatment services, will have an impact on the lives of the estimated 100,000 people living with HIV in Burkina Faso.
In Burkina Faso, a Committed Leader Makes Family Planning a Priority
March 2020 —
In Burkina Faso, one mayor has successfully mobilized more than US$124,100 to support the implementation of family planning activities under his jurisdiction. Following an HP+-supported sub-regional family planning workshop in 2018, Bobo-Dioulasso mayor Bourahima Fabéré Sanou committed to allocating 20 million CFAF (US$33,000) to family planning. Under his stewardship, the municipality mobilized an additional US$91,000 from the International Association of Francophone Mayors to support training and awareness-raising activities, contraceptive procurement, and the promotion of service delivery campaigns in secondary health and professional establishments. As a result of these activities demand for sexual and reproductive health services have increased 52 % in Bobo-Dioulasso, adding 1,335 users to the existing 2,578.
West Africa Country Director Briefs Congressional Delegation to Burkina Faso
October 2019 —
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee were briefed on US-funded health programs in Burkina Faso on October 4, 2019, during the delegation’s visit to Ouagadougou. The delegation of Karen Bass and Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee joined U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID partners to share successes in health support and discuss challenges related to the ongoing strike of health professionals, security, and support for internally displaced people. Modibo Maiga, HP+ country director, and other implementing partners highlighted the strong collaboration between the US and Burkina Faso and the important role that community leaders, including religious leaders and youth, have played in mobilizing domestic resources for health and catalyzing policy change in support of family planning, adolescent reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS. Maiga also briefed the delegation on efforts by the Ministry of Health to integrate community health workers into its health workforce and stressed that the formalization of this cadre of workers at the community level will reduce the impact of the striking health professionals and will help defuse security tensions in communities.
Moving from Planning to Action in West Africa to Meet FP2020 Goals
June 2018 —
Ministries of Health across West Africa are taking action to meet ambitious family planning commitments made in the past several years in support of FP2020 goals. In Burkina Faso, where the use of reproductive health services is only 22.5 percent, the government has issued its 2017-2020 Family Planning Acceleration National Plan (PNAF 2017-2020). The action plan is part of the nation’s strategic vision for improving modern contraceptive prevalence to 32 percent by 2020. In Niger, with a goal of 50 percent contraceptive prevalence by 2020, the Ministry of Health has issued a new operational plan that focuses on identifying and mobilizing resources for contraceptive products. Mauritania is repositioning family planning to focus on birth spacing as an appropriate strategy to improve the supply of family planning and other health services. There, the Ministry of Health has issued a National Action Plan on Birth Spacing with the goal of increasing the modern contraceptive prevalence rate for women in union from 11 percent in 2013 to 18.5 percent in 2018. The USAID-funded Health Policy Plus project provided technical assistance to each of the ministries and key partners, conducted reviews and analyses, and provided recommendations in support of implementing these crucial plans.
Champions secure strengthened RH law, right family planning access for all
January 2018 —
Burkina Faso's reproductive health law has been strengthened with the Minister of Health's approval of new regulatory language that emphasizes the rights of users, including new text that states, "People of reproductive age or adolescents can freely use family planning without any barrier or constraints related to sex, religion, [or] marital status." The reproductive health law, originally passed in 2005 with support from USAID-funded health policy projects in collaboration with the National Assembly, had previously lacked enforceability. The new language, developed in collaboration with HP+, the West Africa Health Organization Network of Champions, and AgirPF, extends rights to reproductive health and family planning to all persons of childbearing age, including adolescents.
Burkina Faso Increases Budget for Family Planning Commodities
November 2017 —
Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Finance's 2018 general budget includes a line item for purchase of contraceptives, which represents 68% of the total estimated cost of contraceptives the country requires for 2018. The Ministry is recommending an increase from CFA 500 million to CFA 1.300 billion to purchase contraceptives. With this recommendation, Burkina Faso is demonstrating political will and prioritizing family planning for investment. No other Francophone West African country has committed this level of domestic resources for contraceptives to date.
The decision to increase domestic resources for family planning commodities is based on the activities outlined in Burkina Faso’s new Costed Implementation Plan (CIP 2017-2020) for family planning. The costed implementation plan’s stated objective is to attain a modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) of 32% by 2020. Burkina Faso’s current mCPR is estimated at 22.5%, so given that objective Burkina Faso’s contraceptive need for 2018 will cost about CFA 1.900 billion. USAID/West Africa’s Health Policy Plus activity supported Burkina Faso’s multi-sectorial reproductive health steering committee to develop the costed implementation plan.
This story originally published by USAID WA in its newsletter, written by Eleonore Rabelahasa, USAID/West Africa