The Access and Quality of Family Planning Services II Project (AcQual) works in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provinces of Kinshasa and Kongo Central to improve the quality of sexual and reproductive health services, expand the community-based distribution of contraceptive methods, and conduct research on innovative strategies for contraception distribution.
CCP is responsible for creating demand for family planning methods and services, with a particular focus on youth. Young people in the DRC have been frustrated with a lack of access to family planning information, while social disapproval of premarital sexual activity and taboos about discussing sexuality make them more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Research shows that youth are not always welcome in health centers and rely on pharmacists, street drug vendors and rumors to guide their reproductive health choices.
The project has developed a strategy centered around addressing the main reasons why people don’t use family planning: lack of knowledge about where to access services and modern contraceptive methods, concerns about side effects and, for married women, husband opposition to contraceptive use. AcQual II works to create demand for family planning by disseminating current, evidence-based information about contraceptive methods, including management of side effects; by helping people access services; and by helping encourage more spousal communication about family planning methods.
The project works closely with the Ministry of Health, including the National Program for Reproductive Health (PNSR) and the National Program for Adolescent Health.
Since it began, AcQual has:
- Produced and distributed six new leaflets on contraceptive methods (IUD, implant, injectable, pill, emergency contraception, all-methods) in French, Lingala, Kikongo and Congolese Swahili.
- Launched a round-the-clock family planning information phone service. Within the first few months of launching the 1-5-5 line, there were already more than 340,000 callers.
- Included family planning messages on the popular national TV show, Libala ya Bosembo.
- Launched a youth-focused song contest, Mongongo Ya Bilenge (“Voice of Youth”), using inspiration from the popularity of shows like America’s Got Talent.
- Worked with Tulane University to improve the quality of health services, including training health providers on interpersonal communication and counseling, and developing and implementing a quality site accreditation process.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; David and Lucille Packard Foundation; anonymous donor
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Tulane University (prime); Association pour le Bien-Être Familial; SANRU; Association Santé et Développement