Develop family planning guidelines

Last week FIGO completed the third round of dissemination workshops on Medical Eligibility Criteria and Selected Practice Recommendations for contraceptive use (MEC and SPR), in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

These workshops aim to develop and standardise guidelines for family planning and contraception based on WHO recommendations and materials. The workshops have taken place in countries from Africa, Asia and the Middle East with resounding success.

Dr Mamdouh Wahba, president of the Egyptian Family Health Society, was part of the most recent round of workshops and gave us his feedback on the event.

The Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS, 2014) has indicated unsatisfactory data relating to the practice of family planning in Egypt during the period 2008 to 2014. The total fertility rate has been rising and the contraceptive prevalence rate has decreased.

The unmet need for contraception reached 12.8% and even 17% in rural Upper Egypt, while the discontinuation rate for the first 12 months has risen to 30%. IUD use has also reduced.

This disappointing data indicates the need to enhance the ability and motivation of healthcare providers and equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to provide quality care.

Although Egypt has developed a strategy for addressing the population problem from 2015 to 2030, the National Family Planning guidelines have not been updated since the year 2000 and are based on outdated information.

The valuable Family Planning guidelines developed by WHO could be of great help to the policy-makers and programme managers in the Family Planning Sector of the MOHP in Egypt. They would also be beneficial to private practitioners and non-governmental organisations who were also invited to attend.

The faculty of the seminar were selected from the most senior experts in family planning, with a long history of working in the field since the initiation of the Egyptian family planning program in 1979.

Professor James Kiarie (Coordinator, Human Reproduction Team, WHO) has been closely involved with these workshops and comments on their impact:

“MEC dissemination workshops in partnership with FIGO were a great cost-effective mechanism that allowed the countries to take ownership of the training, providing skills on WHO Family planning guidelines to more than 600 providers”

The faculty shared their experience of in providing guidance and services to programmes, nationally, regionally and internationally. They were highly appreciated by the audience and provided a comprehensive review of the guidelines and the four cornerstones of the WHO.

Discussions were varied and stimulated participants’ interest and enthusiasm. Dialogue with the faculty was inspiring and led to many valuable conclusions and recommendations being made.

We appreciate the support of FIGO and WHO so much in conducting the seminar and providing valuable technical materials.