Dr. Katherine Tumlinson wants to help women in low-income countries access family planning.
“Women must be able to safely achieve their desired family size,” she says, “but health care providers in low-income countries sometimes discourage family planning use by engaging in negative behaviors like being frequently absent from work, asking patients to pay unsanctioned fees, and withholding family planning methods from young or unmarried clients.”
To begin to address this global problem, Dr. Tumlinson proposed the development of a Youth Community Score Card for young people to share concerns and challenges when accessing family planning services — and she has been awarded a $50,000 Quality Innovation Challenge grant from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation to support her work.
After developing and validating the score card, Dr. Tumlinson, an assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, will use the scores with community members in Kenya to develop appropriate interventions.
“Research shows that these types of provider behaviors are reinforced by weak supervision and accountability, as well as by disempowered clients who lack knowledge about their patient rights,” Dr. Tumlinson explains. “Score cards are an easy-to-use tool that allow communities to monitor and evaluate public facility performance.”
She also hopes that activities related to the score cards will lead to increased attendance of health care providers, fewer demands for informal payments, and reduced instances of providers refusing to offer family planning methods to young or unmarried women. This, in turn, is expected to increase the total number of women receiving family planning services across the country.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 02