Demand and utilization for the 13 life-saving commodities is hampered by several factors at the local level: financial barriers and sociocultural issues influence demand and access to commodities by women and caregivers as well as providers; and health care workers have limited training and outdated skills (including a lack of job aids) for use of specific products and in some cases are faced with policies restricting them from prescribing and administering life-saving commodities.
Pooling expertise on demand, access and performance
The Demand, Access & Performance Technical Resource Team (TRT), bringing experts from 12 organizations, focuses on removing these barriers to demand and utilization. Between 2012 and 2016, the TRT has advanced the UN Commission’s recommendations by supporting countries to develop plans that increase demand for and utilization of health services and products, particularly among underserved populations.
The TRT also developed tools to accelerate demand generation efforts and worked on improving existing tools and job aids and developing new ones where needed to ensure that health care providers are knowledgeable about the latest national guidelines.
The expertise of the TRT members as well as the knowledge resources they have developed during this period are captured in the Life-Saving Commodities Practitioners’ Network.
Progress to date
Strengthen stakeholders’ capacity in selected countries to develop and implement effective demand generation strategies:
An online Demand Generation Implementation Kit (I-Kit), available in both English and French, provides a step-by-step guide on how to create demand generation communication strategies for family planning, maternal and newborn health and child health commodities.
The tools and resources in the I-Kit include evidence and commodity spotlights for the 13 commodities, 9 adaptable communication strategies, and four cross-cutting guides on how to address and integrate the role of gender in demand generation, on utilizing ICT in demand generation for RMNCH explained with case studies, a guide on theory-based framework for media selection in demand generation programs and a guide to Public-Private Partnerships in increasing demand for RMNCH commodities. In addition, the I-Kit contains guidelines on conducting a national assessment on demand generation for underutilized commodities.
The TRT successfully placed the I-Kit resources in the hands of health practitioners in developing countries through the following activities:
The I-Kit was disseminated at 20 global and regional meetings and conferences between 2014 and 2016, including the 2014 International AIDS Conference, the 2014 Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Meeting, the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, and the 2016 Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit.
The TRT organized in-country dissemination workshops and focused sessions with small groups on the adaptation of I-Kit resources in Uganda, Nepal, Bangladesh, DRC, and Madagascar. Later, grantees were selected in Bangladesh, Nepal, Madagascar, and Tanzania for micro grants to help develop communication strategies and kickstart their demand generation activities for specific commodities.
Virtual dissemination through partner sites, 3 webinars, online launch guide with sample blogs, Twitter feed and Facebook posts to promote the I-Kit.
Support national plans: The TRT reviewed current national policies and practices related to the life-saving commodities jointly with six of the pathfinder countries (Ethiopia, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria and Uganda) and one non-pathfinder country (Kenya), and subsequently supported the development of national action plans to develop performance enhancing and monitoring mechanisms for health workers.
Promote and monitor the use of clinical guidelines by public and private providers: a health worker performance toolkit, comprising generic guidelines, checklists, job aids, training and supervision country guidance notes, will be available by mid 2015. The purpose of the toolkits is to translate all the work done to date around the 13 commodities into services by availing job aids, reference materials and patient education materials at the lowest level of healthcare so that health workers are able to appropriately use and promote the 13 commodities.