Assessing the Costs and Dimensions of the Scaling Up Family Planning Program’s “Camping Approach” in Zambia

Scaling Up Family Planning (SUFP) is a comprehensive four-year program that supports the government of Zambia in achieving its FP2020 goals by focusing its activities on integrating family planning outreach and service delivery into the government health system. Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by a consortium led by Abt Associates, SUFP helps the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH), District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and other service delivery actors to plan and provide outreach services in hard-to-reach rural communities that strengthen the provision and demand for family planning.

To coordinate the wide range of demand and supply activities into a single initiative, SUFP created a two-week “Camping Approach” to launch family planning outreach and community mobilization activities district by district. Through the Camping Approach, SUFP works with community-based champions and opinion leaders to increase awareness of and acceptance for family planning by providing accurate information to address myths and misconceptions that prevail within the communities. The Camping Approach aims to increase the target populations’ knowledge and understanding of family planning while ensuring greater access to family planning methods to meet increasing demand. SUFP also works to ensure in each district that teams doing community mobilization, supply chain management, and facility staff training are synchronized.

The SUFP program has scaled up the Camping Approach from seven districts in 2012, the project’s first year, to 13 districts in year 2, and an additional six districts in year 3 for a total of 26 districts, roughly one-quarter of all of the districts in Zambia. The Evidence Project, with the Population Council, Management Sciences for Health, and Abt Associates, are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to generate research findings on how scale up of family planning services has been achieved given the geographic scope and the significant pace of the scale up process as well as generate cost estimates for the Government as it considers its national contraceptive commitments up to 2020. The objectives of the research are to: (1) provide recommendations on the feasibility of integrating the Camping Approach into Zambia’s public sector family planning system; (2) explore fidelity and adaptation of the Camping Approach during the scale up process; (3) identify barriers and facilitators to scale up; (4) understand the cost implications of scale up; and (5) contribute to the global learning on scale up of family planning programs.

Results will be used to offer guidance to policymakers, principally the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health, on the continued and future scale up of family planning services in Zambia.