Working for youth, with youth
October 2023

Setting the global standard for measuring the quality of youth sexual and reproductive health services

Jennifer Orford, Founder & CEO, JMO Communications

Andrea Sprockett, COO, Metrics for Management

Monitoring the quality of health care delivery is crucial for improving services. However, existing tools for measuring the quality of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for young people have not been standardized or practical. There is a pressing need for a common suite of measures to evaluate youth SRH care in low- and middle-income countries, considering young people’s unique concerns and challenges. By centering youth perspectives, standardized measurement can contribute to improved health outcomes for this important population.

Metrics for Management (M4M) founded the Measuring Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (MY SRH) Initiative, a research program whose goal is to create a user-friendly tool to assess the quality of youth SRH services. This tool will support health program implementers, managers, funders, researchers, and other stakeholders who provide services to youth. MY SRH will drive continuous improvement and guide changes to how services are provided, targeting barriers to SRH services for adolescents and young adults.

JMO Communications – an 8(a) and woman-owned small business – serves as M4M’s dedicated communications partner and plays a vital role in amplifying MY SRH in the international community, providing tailor-made communications products and working closely with the M4M team to craft messaging and plan outreach.

About the initiative

MY SRH prioritizes measurement around three crucial concepts: privacy, confidentiality, and provider bias. These factors significantly impact the quality of care young people receive. The initiative is working to develop an easy-to-use measurement approach that assesses the aspects of care that matter most to young people and supports rapid learning. By providing actionable information to program managers, clinicians, and frontline health staff, providers can focus on improvements in areas that matter most to young people and will drive improved health outcomes.

Data that make a difference

M4M has involved youth from the beginning and centers their knowledge and experiences in the data-driven analysis process. A critical component of the MY SRH Initiative is the Youth Advisory Group (YAG), comprised of young clinicians and SRH and human rights leaders, advocates, and experts from five continents. The YAG held its first meeting at the Women Deliver Conference 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda. With the help of the YIELD Hub team and their Collective Action Learning process that prioritizes youth partnership in adolescent and youth SRH rights, the YAG meeting attendees discussed the measurement problem and further defined the concepts of privacy, confidentiality, and provider bias:

  • Privacy applies to all service channels, including physical and digital records, and auditory and visual privacy.
  • Confidentiality requires well-designed policies and workflows to ensure that young people’s private health information is not disclosed without their consent.
  • Provider bias, including discrimination, stigma, and lack of knowledge, can limit access to quality SRH services. High levels of bias can lead to poor quality of care, denial of services, and reduced access to care.

YAG members are key to charting the course of the MY SRH Initiative, and developing a tool that can facilitate quality improvement, enhance social support and education, encourage care-seeking, and produce better health outcomes. The initiative emphasizes ease of use, making sure data can be collected, analyzed, and used routinely to inform performance improvement.

Small business partnerships

The strategic collaboration between M4M and JMO Communications has played a pivotal role in amplifying the MY SRH Initiative, developing the website content and creating products such as briefs, infographics, and social media content. These efforts have been instrumental in raising awareness about the initiative and its work.

The success of the first YAG meeting at Women Deliver demonstrates the importance of M4M’s consensus-building process, which prioritizes user voices throughout the development of tools. Collaborations with other small businesses, like JMO Communications, have been essential in achieving this success and further expanding the impact of the initiative.

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About JMO Communications

JMO Communications is an SBA-certified 8(a) socially disadvantaged woman-owned small business with a global track record of success. Our passionate team is composed of 50+ communications and learning experts around the world. Our team has proven success on delivering both large and small projects for US government-funded organizations, United Nations agencies, international non-profits, for-profit private companies, and foundations. Areas of expertise: Data visualization and graphic design; editing and writing; knowledge management; media management; project identity and branding; social media management; strategic communications; training and capacity building; translation and localization; videography, animation, and field-based photography; and website design and development.

About Metrics for Management

Metrics for Management (M4M) provides data-driven global health insights to improve population health and health equity. To work effectively, NGOs, governments, health providers, and donors working in resource-constrained settings must be able to identify, prioritize, and use information to improve the quality, efficiency, and impact of health services. What makes M4M unique is the unwavering focus on the needs of the end data user and prioritizing providing data that is easy-to-use, meaningful, and actionable. As a result of this work, organizations gain critical insights that allow them to most effectively use their limited resources to identify, prioritize, and use information that helps them improve health outcomes and health equity.

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