Gloria Shirima

Gloria Shirima - 2016 Nominee
Position: RH/FP Advisor
Organization: Jhpiego
As the technical Advisor for family planning under the Maternal and Child Survival Project (MCSP), Gloria has been a real champion in promoting PPFP in Tanzania, having led an initiative to revitalize PPFP at the country level. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have led an initiative to revitalize postpartum family planning (PPFP) at the country level in Tanzania. It’s under the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)—funded by the United States Agency for International Development and led by Jhpiego. I have:
• Led the development of family planning (FP) and PPFP work under MCSP Tanzania from the initial stages of the program
• Liaised with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and other national-level FP stakeholders to identify FP/PPFP programming needs
• Coordinated development of national PPFP materials in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other FP implementing partners and its adoption
• Spearheaded the scaling up of PPFP counseling services to more than 200 health facilities in the two regions MCSP supports in Tanzania

What sparked your passion for family planning?

After I started working as a Reproductive Health and Family Planning Advisor, I discovered FP is a rare service in Tanzania. I believe a woman has a right to plan the number of babies she wants and the time between babies.
Family Planning is one of the safe motherhood pillars. I believe if FP services are available and accessible to every woman, then the countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, will see a marked reductions in preventable maternal deaths

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Working in the lake zone area of Tanzania, where male dominance prevails, I saw how women are scared of Family Planning because their husbands do not support it. As an advisor, I worked with the community and gender team members to make sure they promote male involvement in FP services. Men need to hear the correct information about FP and have myths and misconceptions about FP’s use and impact dispelled. Also, provider bias in FP service provision is a problem which we are working to address

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

• Lack of well-trained FP providers is a problem. Competency-based training, both in education and on the job, is needed.
• The availability of FP commodities at all levels is a struggle, with frequent supportive supervision, coaching and mentoring will help address the gap.
• Weak integration of FP with other services like immunization, cervical cancer screening and treatment, and HIV. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, we should promote integration

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I would like to reach the most underprivileged woman of Tanzania with FP messages and service
I would like every facility in Tanzania be able to offer PPFP services, because after labor, every woman needs to rest and recover for at least 2 years before conceiving another child.
I hope to help facilitate community health worker distribution of short-term FP methods such as pills at the community level. And if a woman wants a long-term or permanent method, the CHW can refer her to a facility

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