Implementation and evaluation of a large-scale postpartum family planning program in Rwanda: study protocol for a clinic-randomized controlled trial


Health Promotion and Physical Education

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Background: Though the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MOH) prioritizes the scale-up of postpartum family planning (PPFP) programs, uptake and sustainability of PPFP services in Rwanda are low. Furthermore, highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive method use (LARC), key in effective PPFP programs, is specifically low in Rwanda. We previously pilot tested a supply-demand intervention which significantly increased the use of postpartum LARC (PPLARC) in Rwandan government clinics. In this protocol, we use an implementation science framework to test whether our intervention is adaptable to large-scale implementation, cost-effective, and sustainable. Methods: In a type 2 effectiveness-implementation hybrid study, we will evaluate the impact of our PPFP intervention on postpartum LARC (PPLARC) uptake in a clinic-randomized trial in 12 high-volume health facilities in Kigali, Rwanda. We will evaluate this hybrid study using the RE-AIM framework. The independent effectiveness of each PPFP demand creation strategy on PPLARC uptake among antenatal clinic attendees who later deliver in a study facility will be estimated. To assess sustainability, we will assess the intervention adoption, implementation, and maintenance. Finally, we will evaluate intervention cost-effectiveness and develop a national costed implementation plan. Discussion: Adaptability and sustainability within government facilities are critical aspects of our proposal, and the MOH and other local stakeholders will be engaged from the outset. We expect to deliver PPFP counseling to over 21,000 women/couples during the project period. We hypothesize that the intervention will significantly increase the number of stakeholders engaged, PPFP providers and promoters trained, couples/clients receiving information about PPFP, and PPLARC uptake comparing intervention versus standard of care. We expect PPFP client satisfaction will be high. Finally, we also hypothesize that the intervention will be cost-saving relative to the standard of care. This intervention could dramatically reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion, as well as improve maternal and newborn health. Our PPFP implementation model is designed to be replicable and expandable to other countries in the region which similarly have a high unmet need for PPFP. Trial registration: NCT05056545. Registered on 31 March 2022.

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