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“EVIDENCE FOR INNOVATING TO SAVE LIVES” is a Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH), RAF supported research project with the aim to improve Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) through Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies (HTSP) in rural and underserved areas of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber – Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

The Maternal and Newborn Health Programme RAF is a grant funding mechanism, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid), and is managed by the British Council. RAF aims to support research and advocacy initiatives to influence pro-poor policy and practice reform related to MNH in Pakistan.

The project objectives are:

  • To assess and compare the effectiveness and efficiency of MSS implemented SURAJ Social Franchising intervention, model A, and Family Planning (FP) modification in the existing Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services provided by Community Midwives (CMWs), model B, with their respective control (non-intervention) groups in achieving key outcomes related to HTSP.
  • Envisaged that the research project will spark policy dialogue and highlight promising practices and lessons learned which may inform the design, implementation and expansion of future MNH strategies in Pakistan.

This study will compare the efficacy and efficiency of two birth spacing service intervention models A and B and their corresponding control populations. Its results will serve as the foundation/building blocks for similar large scale studies which can provide insights for formulating newer, more effective intervention models as well as better maternal and newborn health policies for the future.

Project Highlights:

  • 30 MSS Suraj Social Franchisers and 20 CMWs have been trained and accredited by a third party consultation (an independent consultant gynecologist). Service providers have been trained for providing good quality Family Planning (FP) services including clients counseling, business training and infection prevention.
  • Provides and Provided IUCD (Intrauterine Contraceptive Device) insertion kits for providing infection free treatment and Female Community Mobilizers (FCM), to raise awareness in the community with reference to the FP services being given by the service provider.
  • The Suraj Social franchising (model A) is an MSS initiative implemented in 33 districts of Sindh, Punjab and KPK.

MSS has to date developed a network of some 190 private providers (based on a strict selection criteria) who have been trained, accredited, provided with a community based Field Worker and branded as ‘Suraj’ providers. Since the project’s service initiation from 14th March till September 2011, Suraj Social franchising has provided free IUCD services to 1,845 clients of low socio-economic status.

Community Support Group (CSG) Meeting Successes:

The project’s CSG have helped raise awareness on benefits of FP with community male stakeholders/gatekeepers. This has proved to be extremely beneficial in these stakeholders’ endorsing of the services being provided by the project’s service providers (belonging to both model A and B in their areas).

Increase in Condom Use Among Males After CSGs:

District August 2011 September 2011
Khanewal 196 1,205
Haripur 695 761
Rajanpur 19 88

The project operations have highlighted service providers being successfully trained to provide the necessary FP services; which have also resulted in the provision of free IUCD services to clients with low socio-economic status. Its CSG meetings are getting the community male stakeholders/gatekeepers to endorsement/support the FP services being provided. That can be shown by the increase in the condom utilization as seen in the above given chart. Further continuation of these project operations (Services and CSGs) can result in reaching and providing services to more communities having similar unmet FP needs.