Quality of family planning services in Zambia from perspective of patients and providers

2 December, 2021

Dear HIFA and HIFA-Zambia colleagues,

This new paper from Zambia concludes: 'The community and health providers indicated the necessity of quality FP/C services that included: appropriate facility infrastructure, skilled healthcare providers, positive healthcare provider attitudes such as treating clients with respect and understanding their needs, the provision of clients’ preferred methods with adequate information and engagement of community members in FP/C services.'

CITATION: Theresa Nkole et al. Community and health provider perspectives on the quality of family planning and contraceptive services in Kabwe District, Zambia

Sex Reprod Health Matters. 2021 Dec;29(1):1985945. doi: 10.1080/26410397.2021.1985945.


ABSTRACT: Quality family planning and contraceptive (FP/C) services result in positive outcomes such as client satisfaction and sustained use of contraceptives. While most assessments of quality in FP/C services are based on measurable reproductive health outcomes, there is limited consideration of the perspectives and experiences of health providers and community members. This study aimed to address this knowledge gap, by exploring health providers' and community perspectives on the elements of quality FP/C services in Kabwe district, Zambia. Fourteen focus group discussions and 10 in-depth interviews were conducted in October-December 2016, involving community members, key community stakeholders such as religious and political leaders, health committee members and frontline and managerial healthcare providers. Data were analysed using a thematic approach. According to study participants, quality FP/C services would include provision by skilled personnel with positive attitudes towards clients, availability of preferred methods and affordable products. Additional factors included appropriate infrastructure, especially counselling services spaces and adequate consultation time. Participants stressed the need for reduced waiting time and opportunity for self-expression. The efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery factors, such as information dissemination and community engagement, were also considered important elements of quality FP/C. This study underscores the value of considering both community and health provider perspectives in efforts to improve the quality of FP/C services, with the overall aim of increasing client satisfaction and sustained utilisation. However, service delivery processes must also be addressed in addition to providing for community participation, if quality is to be achieved in FP/C services.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org