|Harlene Villanueva (right) counsels a mother on family planning while being observed by Adelaida Quizon, a midwife from Lipa City District Hospital and member of the Provincial Supportive Supervisory Team|
|Harlene receives feedback from Adelaida on how to improve conduct of family planning counseling. |
(Photos by JBonifacio/RTI International)
Harlene Villanueva is a midwife at Cuenca Rural Health Unit in Batangas, south of Manila. Since undergoing the Department of Health’s Family Planning Competency Based Training Basic Course, she has been counseling men and women who desire to either limit or space childbearing. “There were times, however, when clients would ask questions that I could not answer right away…I usually just refer them to either our doctor or nurse who can better address their concerns,” Harlene shared.
These were the sentiments expressed by Harlene when the Provincial Supportive Supervisory Team of Batangas initially visited her and her fellow midwives to coach them on how to improve family planning service provision. With the coaching and mentoring, Harlene received technical updates on family planning from the visiting supervisors and her knowledge on family planning was reinforced.
Coaching and mentoring are integral parts of further developing the skills of health service providers after they undergo training. The Province of Batangas, with support from USAID's LuzonHealth Project implemented by RTI International, organized a Provincial Supportive Supervisory Team for Family Planning composed of selected program managers and service providers trained in supportive supervision. The team is tasked to conduct supportive supervisory visits every other month that include coaching and mentoring of health service providers assigned in barangay (village) health stations, rural health units, and district hospitals.
Recently, supportive supervision has also been linked to the conduct of diagnostic workshops which are now being used as an alternative process for the certification of health service providers. Through diagnostic workshops, the skills of trained health service providers in various areas of family planning service provision are assessed. Those found competent are endorsed for proficiency certification, while those who need further improvement in certain areas are scheduled for succeeding supportive supervisory visits. By doing this, service providers are assisted in improving their skills and building their confidence further as they provide quality service until they are ready for certification.
Since April 2018, the Batangas Provincial Supportive Supervisory Team has conducted supportive supervisory visits to 20 family planning-trained health service providers who have undergone the diagnostic workshop. To date, nearly 900 health service providers in USAID-assisted areas in Luzon, including Batangas, have been trained in supportive supervision. In Batangas, the sustained practice of supportive supervision is expected to further improve the quality of family planning services being provided by its 335 family planning-trained providers to benefit some 99,000 women with unmet need for family planning.