Scaling up Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Interventions Through Existing Government Systems? A Detailed Process Evaluation of a School-Based Intervention in Mwanza Region in the Northwest of Tanzania
JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH
Purpose: There is little evidence from the developing world of the effect of scale-up on model adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) programmes. In this article, we document the effect of scaling up a school-based intervention (MEMA kwa Vijana) from 62 to 649 schools on the coverage and quality of implementation.
Methods: Observations of 1,111 students' exercise books, 11 ASRH sessions, and 19 peer-assistant role plays were supplemented with interviews with 47 ASRH-trained teachers, to assess the coverage and quality of ASRH sessions in schools.
Results: Despite various modifications, the 10-fold scale-up achieved high coverage. A total of 89% (989) of exercise books contained some MEMA kwa Vijana 2 notes. Teachers were enthusiastic and interacted well with students. Students enjoyed the sessions and scripted role plays strengthened participation. Coverage of the biological topics was higher than the psycho-social sessions. The scale-up was facilitated by the structured nature of the intervention and the examined status of some topics. However, delays in the training, teacher turnover, and a lack of incentive for teaching additional activities were barriers to implementation.
Conclusions: High coverage of participatory school-based reproductive health interventions can be maintained during scale-up. However, this is likely to be associated with significant changes in programme content and delivery. A greater emphasis should be placed on improving teachers' capacity to teach more complex-skills-related activities. Future intervention scale-up should also include an increased level of supervision and may be strengthened by underpinning from national level directives and inclusion of behavioral topics in national examinations. (C) 2011 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.