One of the key objectives of the DRC Government’s Strategic Plan for Family Planning 2014-2020 is to increase demand for family planning. Generating demand, both in the general population and in sub-populations such as youth, is a key component of ongoing efforts at increasing the modern contraceptive prevalence rate. Yet the 2013-14 DRC DHS showed that, while over 99% of women in Kinshasa had heard of at least one modern contraceptive method, only 13% has spoken about family planning with a health worker in the past year, and use of modern contraception remained weak, at 19%. In the 2014 PMA2020 survey in Kinshasa, 16.4% of women not currently using contraception cited lack of knowledge of a method or source as the reason for non-use. Media efforts to increase awareness of FP have had limited reach; 86.5% of women and 73.3% of men in the 2013-14 DHS reported no exposure to FP messaging in radio, newspapers or television.
In response, a new set of communication materials were launched on the morning of Friday, July 17, 2015 in Kinshasa. The launch ceremony took place in the gardens in front of the city’s main train station, where a giant billboard was unveiled and the new communication materials were showcased.
The goal of the materials is to increase knowledge of FP methods and where these methods are available, both in fixed sites and through community-based distributors, and promote use of FP services and CBD through a mass-media approach.
200,000 tri-fold leaflets are now available explaining all FP methods, while additional leaflets were developed to explain individual methods in greater detail to help users manage side effects. Flip chart job aids (collections of images bound together) will be distributed to 50 fixed FP sites as a tool for health personnel to explain FP methods to clients. 1000 sets of mobile cards, similar to the job aids, are also available for the CBD agents.
To better inform the public of where FP services can be found, tarpaulins and vinyl stickers bearing the FP logo are to be placed in front of each FP location, which read “Services Available Here,” “Youth Services,” and “Available here.” 5000 stickers with the FP logo are also being distributed to designate FP consultation areas of health centers. Finally, 10,000 stickers with the FP logo and a slogan promoting child spacing will be provided to the community-based distributors for distribution during their activities.
To promote use of available services, 14 giant billboards bearing the FP logo will be placed along roads in Kinshasa, hanging from mid-July to mid-October, 2015. Smaller versions of these billboards may also be placed in bus or train stations.
To promote communication around family planning within couples, community-based distributors who provide FP methods to individual clients will begin implementing community activities using the “Point d’Espoir,”tool kit which encourages couples to talk to each other about FP. In August and September, the TV show Libala ya bosembo will integrate FP messaging for couples.
All of these new communication materials will support and intensify ongoing demand creation efforts, increasing the visibility of FP services across the city and province.