CIDRZ Pharmaceutical Services Department supported Lusaka District Pharmacy Unit to integrate family planning (FP) services into health center Antiretroviral therapy (ART) pharmacies with the goal of increasing access and uptake of these services. Working with pharmacists from Lusaka Province and District offices, the Department conducted two trainings on FP for 45 Pharmacy staff providing ART services in Lusaka District in February 2013 and July 2013. These trainings aimed to sensitize Pharmacy personnel on FP options available in Zambia; means of effective interaction with HIV positive adolescents and women during medication counseling; and to encourage them to play an active role in the provision of FP services in ART Pharmacy.
Afterwards, a planning meeting was held in July 2013 with the Lusaka District Health Office Pharmacist, the Maternal and Child Health Coordinator and CIDRZ Pharmacist to clearly map out how to ensure availability of FP products in ART Clinics. The meeting focused on developing a logistics system for FP products at ART Pharmacies to ensure accountability of these products during the integration process. Strategies were developed to enable Pharmacy personnel to order and capture consumption of the products and make consumption data available to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for forecasting and planning.
In August 2013, two Lusaka District health facilities located in Kalingalinga and Chawama were selected as integration pilots. Adequate products were ordered from the district warehouse by the Pharmacy personnel to supply both MCH and the ART Pharmacy. In addition, combined oral contraceptives were made available in the ART Pharmacies, and Pharmacy personnel in the selected health centres played an active role in providing FP information to all reproductive age clients during medication counselling. First-time clients and those needing injectable FP products were actively referred by Pharmacy staff to MCH for adequate and intensive counseling on FP product options, side effects and adherence. Following the integration of FP in the ART Pharmacies, the District Pharmacist noted a significant uptake of FP products at the two pilot health centres.