Focus on High Impact Practices to Achieve Universal SRH

Many women around the world do not have the option to choose between receiving an older treatment, or the latest evidence-based care, as the treatment is decided by the provider. 

In recent editions of this series on innovations in family planning and contraception, we referred to high impact practices (HIP) as defined by the WHO. For the past 15 years, the WHO, Implementing Best Practices (IBP) initiative has focused on a selective set of tools well-known to many FIGO members such as the Medical Eligibility for Contraceptive Use, Selected Practice Guidelines for Contraception, and the Training Resource Package for Family Planning, among others. These documents are updated periodically based on emerging evidence in the field, so that providers do not offer their patients the “old practice availed by their mothers."

IBP increases a community’s access to evidence-based medicine, guidelines, tools, and reviews; supporting their implementation and scale up in both public and private health systems and enhancing collaboration through increased partnerships and coordination. As important, IBP improves the documentation of best practices, and encourages investment in monitoring and evaluation to improve practices whilst they are rolled out.

New in this approach is a tool that examines the links between WHO Guidelines and HIP. The WHO/HIP Matrix links WHO Guidelines for family planning to specific high impact practice evidence. It is a reference for programme managers and providers on how to incorporate WHO guidelines in their practice and advocacy efforts. Because this information is available online and can be accessed by mobile phones, it opens the door to scaling best practices in a fashion unthought of until recently. We highly recommend this resource for FIGO members and even for potential clients and advocates as part of self-care.  

We have come a long way since our mothers and sisters first had access to the pill in the 1960s. Let’s promote the development of high impact practices faster and disseminate them more widely and reliably, so that our families, communities and colleagues alike can receive the benefit of science and achieve universal coverage of SRH.