The IntegratE Project is a 4-year initiative from November 2017 to date (November 2021), co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers. It was designed with the lofty objective to increase access and uptake of modern contraceptive methods thus improving coverage; by expanding family planning and primary health care services among Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) in Lagos and Kaduna States.

The project, which aligned with the National Task shifting Task Sharing (TSTS) policy, is a proof of concept that training the Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) on expanded family Planning services can bridge the gaps seen in delivering of family planning services in the communities, as prior research findings showed that about 62% of Nigerians first seek care from PPMVs and CPs when they fall ill. As part of its objectives, the project established a regulatory system with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to ensure that the trained Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent Propriety Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) provide high-quality FP services, comply with FP regulations, and report service statistics to the National Health Information Management System (NHMIS).

From inception, the project supported the Lagos State Government in its goal to increase the modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) in line with the FP2020 declaration. It was implemented across all the 20 LGAs of Lagos State with a total of 369 CPs and 265 PPMVs trained.
The Primary Health Care Board (PHCB) was actively involved in this project, ensuring access for selected Primary Healthcare facilities to be used as training grounds for practical and competency training before certification. Master Trainers amongst the Family Planning (FP) Managers were also released to facilitate this training and while all our FP managers across the LGAs stood as guides, mentors, and supervisors to the trainees to further build their skills and confidence to provide services.

Integrated Supportive Supervisory Visits (ISSV) were also conducted to the trained CPs and PPMVs. The data collated from this project speaks for itself and for the success of the high-impact intervention. Therefore, it is our wish for the continuity of this collaboration beyond 2021.

The demonstrated best practices and high-impact strategies that have emanated from this project are our take-homes for sustainability in the long haul. The success stories recorded cannot be overemphasized as the LGA Family Planning Managers have had their capacity built-in engaging and sustaining their oversight roles and responsibilities as Managers across the entire LGAs with meaningful insights and strategies focused on improving service delivery. With the stupendous improvement in the State’s mCPR from this project, we are optimistic of a steady sustained increase in FP uptake from our private health sector.

We hope that the dissemination from today’s meeting will further support the ongoing efforts and advocacy for increased access to modern Family Planning Contraceptives and joint collaboration between the public and private health sectors in respect to Family Planning.

We take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the SFH-IntegratE Team led by Pharm. Bolaji Oladejo, who has worked relentlessly since 2017. Your impact has been meaningful, effective, and positive in influencing decision-making for FP amongst our Women of Reproductive Age (WRA).

We also thank the funders of this laudable project, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and MSD for Mothers for their generosity in supporting our vision. Finally to our State and Federal Government, thank you for availing us the opportunity to make a difference in the Family Planning landscape with this collaboration.

However, with the ever-increasing population of Lagos State as a result of the constant influx of residents from other states, we are hoping to have more collaborations that will benefit all and sundry.

On this note, I once again welcome you to the Centre of Excellence and to this close-out dissemination event and wish us all a fruitful deliberation.