Six recommendations for provider behavior change in family planning

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Health care provider behavior has the power to influence family planning and reproductive health outcomes positively and negatively, underlining the importance of provider behavior change (PBC) initiatives. However, global health practitioners lack a shared understanding of PBC interventions and what influences provider behavior. Furthermore, PBC interventions in family planning and reproductive health have tended to address individual and workplace environmental factors rather than the full breadth of factors that influence provider behavior, including the broader systems and contexts where providers operate. This commentary contributes to a common understanding of PBC, including the determinants of provider behavior, and describes actions to advance PBC efforts in family planning and reproductive health. To inform these considerations, we conducted a narrative review of more than 70 articles and project materials describing interventions that aimed to change provider behaviors pertaining to family planning and reproductive health and used the review to identify the most and least common provider cadres addressed, behavioral determinants targeted, and strategies implemented. We strongly encourage global health practitioners to design future PBC interventions for a more diverse set of cadres and contexts, consider the full set of factors that influence provider behavior, pair provider- and client-side interventions, shift the narrative around PBC from “blaming” to supporting providers, move beyond training-only interventions, and improve the rigor of measurement and evidence-building efforts for PBC. These considerations can be used to advance the field of PBC in family planning and reproductive health to improve outcomes across the service delivery continuum.






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