New publication on task sharing in family planning
Contraception is an inexpensive and cost-effective intervention, but health workforce shortages and restrictive policies on the roles of mid- and lower-level cadres limit access to effective contraceptive methods in many settings. Task sharing is envisioned to create a more rational distribution of tasks and responsibilities among cadres of health workers to improve access and cost-effectiveness.
In 2012, WHO published a document, “Optimizing health worker roles to improve access to key maternal and newborn health interventions through task shifting” https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/77764/9789241504843_eng.pdf
It also has a chapter on recommendations of task sharing for contraceptive services:
This new paper reviews and reports on new evidence since 2012 (WHO’s last publication) and provides updates.
Millogo T, Chomi E, Kouanda S, Ali M. Getting Up to Date with What Works: A Systematic Review on the Effectiveness and Safety of Task Sharing of Modern Methods in Family Planning Services. Biomed Res Int. 2023 Feb 7;2023:8735563. doi: 10.1155/2023/8735563. PMID: 36817856; PMCID: PMC9936454.
Objective. This systematic review was conducted to provide up-to-date evidence on the safety and effectiveness of task sharing in the delivery of modern contraceptives.
Study Design. The review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. We searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane CENTRAL, and Google Scholar for peer-reviewed studies that reported on effectiveness and/or safety outcomes of task sharing of any modern contraceptive method. Only Cochrane Effective Practice of Organizations of Care (EPOC) study designs were eligible, and quality assessment of the evidence was performed using the Cochrane risk of bias (RoB) tools. Meta-analyses, where possible, were carried out using Stata, and certainty of the evidence for outcomes was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation tool (GRADE).
Results. Six studies met the inclusion criteria: five reported on self-injection of subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) compared to administered by trained health providers; and one assessed tubal ligation performed by associate clinicians compared to advanced-level associate clinicians. Self-injection improved contraceptive continuation, with no increase in unintended pregnancy and no difference in side effects compared to provider administered. In tubal ligation, the rate of adverse events, time to complete procedure, and participant satisfaction were similar among associate clinicians and advanced clinicians.
Conclusion. The evidence suggests that self-injection of DMPA-SC and tubal ligation performed by associate clinicians are safe and effective. These findings should be complemented with the evidence on the feasibility and acceptability of task sharing of these methods.
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