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Increasing access to intrauterine contraceptive device uptake in Ghana: stakeholders views on task sharing service delivery with community health nurses

Fred Y. Gbagbo
Emmanuel S.K. Morhe


Introduction: Evidence supporting successful task sharing to increase Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUD) uptake exist in some developing countries that have challenges with availability of trained health professionals. Although Community Health Nurses (CHNs) in Ghana are trained to provide primary health care including emergency deliveries in rural communities, they are not professionally mandated to provide IUD services.
Objectives: To explore stakeholders’ views on task sharing IUD services with CHNs in Ghana.
Methods: This qualitative case study was conducted in Accra, Ghana between June and September 2018. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from purposively selected participants. Included in the study were policy makers, policy implementing institutions, service regulators, Non-Governmental Organisations, field providers and service end users. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. We manually performed thematic analysis of data and findings were appropriately described by paraphrasing and/or quoting relevant responses verbatim.
Results: There is a general mixed feeling towards task sharing IUD services with community health nurses in Ghana. Policy makers, programmers, gynaecologists and IUD users interviewed believed that CHNs are capable of providing safe IUD services when well trained, adequately resourced and supervised. Based on some field experiences of complications associated with IUD insertions, participants who were midwives clearly indicated the need for effective training and careful implementation strategies.
Conclusions: Despite concerns about user safety, respondents endorsed task-sharing IUD services with trained CHNs in Ghana. Implementation study focusing on competency-based IUD training for selected CHNs is recommended to provide empirical evidence to back policy decisions.
Keywords: Task-sharing, IUD, Community Health Nurses, Policy, Ghana
Funding: Marie Stopes Ghana funded the field work.