Six Districts Initiate Family Planning Advocacy in Bihar State, India

Six districts in Bihar state, India have established district advocacy working groups. The groups—formed for the first time in Araria, Gopalganj, Jehanabad, Kishanganj, Sheohar and Siwan districts—are now initiating strategic advocacy efforts to improve access to quality family planning services in their communities.
These districts have poor family planning indicators with contraceptive prevalence rates varying from 9.1% in Gopalganj to 34.9%[1] in Jehanabad. Advocacy priorities for the working groups, vary according to local needs, primarily focusing on increasing access to spacing methods, improving various frontline workers and providers’ family planning counseling capacity, and expanding “fixed day static services” for uptake of intrauterine contraceptive devices and sterilization.
Ongoing transfers of state officials have made it difficult to achieve this win, but the new Executive Director of the State Health Society, Mr. Jitendra Srivastava, was enthusiastic to take immediate action for family planning. He approved establishment of district working groups in September 2015, following continuous advocacy by Advance Family Planning local partner Population Foundation of India (PFI).
District leadership in Bihar has also shown keen interest in the initiative and included “update on district working group activities” as a priority agenda item in the District Health Society meetings. PFI is collaborating with district leadership and health officials to support implementation of the advocacy work plans. Based on the progress and success in these six districts, PFI will advocate for establishment of additional district working groups across Bihar in partnership with other stakeholders.
[1] India National Family Health Survey-4

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons by DFID

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