In 2004, with funding for technical assistance provided by USAID, the Indian Council of Medical Research funded and collaborated with the Frontiers in Reproductive Health (FRONTIERS) program of the Population Council on a two-year study to assess the usefulness and effectiveness of using paraprofessionals in educating and providing emergency contraception (ECP) services to potential users. Based on the findings and advocacy efforts, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare introduced ECP as an over-the-counter medication beginning in September 2005. This made it possible for paraprofessionals in the National Family Planning Program to provide ECP services, making the method widely accessible to women who need it. The study demonstrated that paraprofessionals could easily be trained to provide ECP services and that the quality of their services is slightly better than the quality of the same services provided by physicians. Guidelines and funding for the scale-up of ECP services should incorporate the use of paraprofessionals as well as physicians as a best practice in public health.
Kumar, Shiv, Chander Shekhar, N.K. Gupta, Malabika Roy, M.E. Khan, Mary Philip Sebastian, Rukma Idnani, Ardash Bhargava, and Vinita Salvi. 2007. "Provision of emergency contraceptive services through paraprofessionals in India," FRONTIERS Final Report. Washington, DC: Population Council.
Frontiers in Reproductive Health