270481 Focus Group Discussions on the effects of a family planning communication campaign in Georgia

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nino Lomia, MD, MPH , USAID SUSTAIN Project, John Snow Inc., Tbilisi, Georgia
Philippe LeMay, MBA , USAID SUSTAIN Project, John Snow Inc., Tbilisi, Georgia
Lela Sturua, MD, MPH , Head of Non-communicable Diseases Division, National Center for Disease Control, Tbilisi, Georgia
Lia Umikashvili, MD, MPH , USAID SUSTAIN Project, John Snow Inc, Tbilisi, Georgia
Dali Trapaidze, MD , Chief Specialist, Non-communicable Diseases Division, National Center for Disease Control, Tbilisi, Georgia
The use of modern contraceptive methods in Georgia is still low (21%), despite the increase in contraceptive prevalence (from 28% in 2005 to 32% in 2010) as documented by the Georgia Reproductive Health Survey 2010. In 2011, a national communication campaign was launched to promote family planning. The effects of exposure to family planning (FP) messages were assessed using focus group discussions. Six focus groups were conducted with doctors and nurses providing FP services at the primary health care level, and two with pharmacists from chain and independent pharmacies. The focus group results showed that the most successful communication channel were FP service providers, followed by TV and word of mouth. Radio and print media were cited as least effective. Almost all respondents stated the campaign resulted in an increase in demand and consumption of modern contraceptives, particularly pills, and an increase in contraceptive sales. The most cited barriers for oral contraceptive use were fear of side effects (weight gain) and possible complications (cancer), financial accessibility, and religious views. Negative attitudes toward modern methods among some providers and pharmacists, largely due to the lack of sufficient knowledge, was also mentioned as a contributing factor. The focus group findings are expected to better inform the development of future communication campaigns, including strategy and message design, media planning, and launching social marketing products. The FP trainings for providers and pharmacists are critical for improving their capacity to more effectively convey information about the health benefits of modern contraceptives.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the effects of a family planning (FP) communication campaign on the use of modern contraceptives in the Republic of Georgia. 2. Identify the most powerful communication channels for promoting FP. 3. Identify the main barriers for modern contraceptives use. 4. Discuss the importance of using focus group results for planning future communication campaigns. 5. Discuss the importance of strengthening FP service providersí communication and counseling skills through continuous FP trainings.

Keywords: International Reproductive Health, Family Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in this study from the very beginning as co-principal investigator: developing the focus group protocol and moderator guide, coordinating selection and recruitment of the focus group respondents, supervising focus group discussions, analyzing the focus group transcripts and reporting the findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.