Private health care providers are an important source of modern contraceptives in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet they face many challenges that might be addressed through targeted training.
This study measures the impact of a package of trainings and supportive supervision activities targeted to private health care providers in Lagos State, Nigeria, on outcomes including range of contraceptive methods offered, providers’ knowledge and quality of counseling, recordkeeping practices, access to credit and revenue. A total of 965 health care facilities were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Facilities in the treatment group—but not those in the control group—were offered a training package that included a contraceptive technology update and interventions to improve counseling and clinical skills and business practices. Multivariate regression analysis of data collected through facility and mystery client surveys was used to estimate effects.
The training program had a positive effect on the range of contraceptive methods offered, with facilities in the treatment group providing more methods than facilities in the control group. The training program also had a positive impact on the quality of counseling services, especially on the range of contraceptive methods discussed by providers, their interpersonal skills and overall knowledge. Facilities in the treatment group were more likely than facilities in the control group to have good recordkeeping practices and to have obtained loans. No effect was found on revenue generation.
Targeted training programs can be effective tools to improve the provision of family planning services through private providers.
At the time this article was written, Jorge Ugaz, Anthony Leegwater and Doug Johnson were associates and Minki Chatterji was a principal associate, all at Abt Associates, Bethesda, MD, USA; Sikiru Baruwa and Modupe Toriola were technical specialists at the SHOPS Project, Lagos State, Nigeria; and Cynthia Kinnan was an assistant professor, Department of Economics and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Author contact: [email protected]