The impact of cascade training—A FIGO and WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research collaboration to improve access to quality family planning globally
Makins A., Hearing F., Taghinejadi N., Kiarie J., Kabra R., Arulkumaran SS., Steyn P.
Globally, there are considerable barriers to accessing safe and effective contraceptive methods. Increased awareness and utilization among obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) and allied health professionals of the WHO's tools and guidelines on contraception is a possible avenue to changing this. A cascade-training model, based on regional training-of-trainer workshops followed by national workshops, was used to share key WHO global family planning tools and guidelines among OB/GYNs in 29 countries across three regions—Anglophone Africa, Middle East and Mediterraean, and Francophone West Africa. Monitoring and evaluation was performed through pre- and post-knowledge questionnaires as well as in-depth interviews of key informants before and after the training was instituted. The training increased both participants' knowledge and understanding of the relevant guidelines, as well as their confidence in using them. Qualitative data suggested that this improved in-country clinical practice and influenced national policy through dissemination and engagement with country leadership. The cascade-training model was a practical, locally adaptable means of disseminating up-to-date WHO family planning guidelines and tools. It resulted in sustainable changes in many participating countries, including training curriculum updates, policy changes, and increased government engagement with family planning. Future iterations of the initiative would benefit from additional support for multidisciplinary training.