Marie Stopes Joins Hands To Support Youth In Sports

It was a bright Friday afternoon of the 9th.05.2017 and the nation was celebrating heroes day . Sport-s volleyball Club, with a contingent of three teams prepared to set off for the long weekend in Kumi district to take part in one of the most popular community sports event. This is was the 21st edition of Dr Aporu okol memorial international volleyball tournament.

The annual event attracts so many top flight teams in the region especially Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, DRC and Uganda. As usual the crowds to this event are always big mainly because the Ugandan teams tussling it out with other nations and the tournament was started by Dr Aporu okol one of the pioneers of Ugandan volleyball and also a native of the land so the locals feel more touched by the event.

The ladies' team ready to compete for the cup

The ladies’ team ready to compete for the cup

At exactly midday all the three teams of Sport –S volleyball clun in their MARIE STOPES and life guard t shirt set off for kumi. Through the management of MARIE STOPES and the help of one of the Club members Isaac Mulumba a captain to one of the men’s team, we had received items for the community we were visiting which included life guard t shirts, life guard condoms, MARIE STOPES reflector jackets, family planning flyers and brouchers with an aim to sensitize the Kumi masses about their reproductive health and to also make them aware about family planning. The community was informed about the toll free hotline 0800220333 which can be called throughout the week for sexual and reproductive health counsselling. You can also reach our counsellors on whatsapp +256754001503 to receive sexual reproductive health consultation.

Consequently we met Mr Okiror Steven the Chairman of boma Boda Boda stage kumi town and we gave him our agenda which he accepted and he presponded by mobilizing his members in the community. We distributed condoms and t shirts plus reflector jackets to Boda Boda men. The population was so excited about our activities and a few issues were raised like the women’s need for female condoms and also reported that their men force them to have so many unplanned pregnancies. Never the less the Drive was a success.

Back to the tournament our two teams; the ladies’ senior team and the men’s senior teams on Sunday each secured a place in the finals and as a result the ladies managed to secure silver after loosing to Vision Volleyball camp. The men were more resilient and they emerged the Winners of this year’s tournament Beating Sky volleyball club. We were awarded gold medals and a trophy.

On the awards ceremony, we still got the opportunity to distribute life guard branded T-shirt and caps among those who got was the minister of Teso affairs Hon Bety Amongin Aporu wife of the late Dr Aporu okol and also the Member of parliament kumi municipality , men in uniform and our fans were all painted with Marie stopes colors
Special thanks to our partners MARIE STOPES Uganda for dressing our teams, our administrators and our fans We look forward to more of such drives because we are always in such communities that need such services.

Jubilation after winning the cup.

Jubilation after winning the cup.


Maternal health voucher initiative opens doors for safe deliveries

“I feel so happy that I was able to deliver my baby safely. I received good care and attention from the health workers here; my baby and I were in good hands,” says Alice Nalubwama from her bed in the maternity ward at Kamuli Mission Hospital in Eastern Uganda. “When I was referred here from the clinic I was worried because I felt my baby was in danger. But the doctors here helped me and I delivered safely.” The 24 year old delivered her fourth child by caesarean section. With her new born in her arms and her mother by her side, she smiles broadly as a midwife conducts a ward round checking on Nalubwama and other new mothers.

What may sound like a routine and ordinary event is often not the case for women like Nalubwama in many parts of Uganda. Even though the recently released Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) shows that about 7 out of 10 women now deliver with the help of a skilled professional, there are still pockets of inequality especially in rural areas. There, having a baby is not always an easy journey and for many women the costs involved are a prohibitive factor; many end up delivering at home or with unqualified birth attendants who cannot handle complicated deliveries.

With her first three children, Nalubwama says she and her husband, who are peasant farmers, had to use up all their savings so that she could attend ante-natal care and deliver at a private clinic near her home.

As a way to address the challenges faced by women like Nalubwama, a new initiative, the Maternal Health Voucher Scheme was introduced. The Scheme is one component of the Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health Country Engagement plan, implemented by UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF. One of the objectives is to ensure availability and utilization of high impact maternal health interventions at birth and during the postnatal period. The beneficiaries include women and men in 30 districts where maternal mortality is still high and access to good quality services for women during pregnancy and delivery is still a challenge.

In eight districts in Eastern Uganda, UNFPA supports partner Marie Stopes Uganda to implement the Maternal Health Voucher scheme. Rolled out in June 2016, the initiative is implemented in 100 public and private health facilities that are accredited by Marie Stopes to provide maternal health services. The scheme works through a network of 200 trained volunteer health workers (Village Health Teams) who are a critical link to the health system. The VHTS identify needy prospective mothers and sell them vouchers at 4,000 shillings. (About $1). They also provide information to pregnant women on the importance of attending at least four ante natal care visits and delivering at a health facility.

The voucher card allows the mother to access services throughout pregnancy and delivery, with just one single payment. Once a mother buys the voucher she is entitled to four ante-natal care visits, delivery under the care of a skilled health professional and post-natal care. For women who develop complications, an ambulance is available to ensure there are no delays in getting them to a higher level facility where they can receive more specialised care.

This is exactly what happened in Nalubwama’s case. At the Health Centre III where she was originally meant to have her baby, the health workers were concerned that her labour was not progressing well. “The midwife said that my contractions were weak and that I may not be able to push the baby out. I was so worried; I did not know what would happen next,” Nalubwama recalls.

Realising that she might need a caesarean section the health workers quickly referred her by ambulance to the bigger and better equipped Kamuli Mission Hospital where the caesarean section was performed. Ordinarily the operation would have cost about 500,000 shillings, not counting the cost of transport to the hospital. Nalubwama and her family paid nothing.

For Dr Andrew Muleledhu, the Medical Superintendent of Kamuli Mission Hospital, the fact that Nalubwama and others like her are able to access such services is testament to the power of the Voucher Scheme. “At the heart of it the voucher system is addressing poverty. That voucher is money in the hands of the mother. It is preventing this mother and her family from going into financial catastrophe simply because they are having a baby. That is universal health coverage at its best,” he says.

Sister Jane Nelima a midwife at Mayuge Health Centre III one of the facilities where the Voucher Scheme operates could not agree more. She explains that as a midwife she is happy that with the Voucher Scheme she is able to see more mothers coming to the ante natal care clinic and coming back to deliver at the facility.

To date, 1,939 women in the eight districts where the Voucher Scheme is implemented have been supported to deliver at a health facility, attended to by trained and skilled health workers. A total of 14,999 vouchers have been sold, meaning that many more mothers will be receiving critical maternal health care in months to come.

As for Nalubwama, the only thing that could top her experience of having a safe delivery was the thought of getting back home to her husband and other children and introducing the new addition to the family.

– See more at: here

Improving access to maternal health services for women

Demand side financing is a tool that is being utilized to improve the utilization of under used services among the poor and under-served populations by placing purchasing power as well as choice of provider directly in the hands of the recipients (World health Report 2010).

This is an important innovation in health care systems where access remains poor and therefore the utilization and uptake of services very low among those who would benefit most from these services, that is to say the poor and vulnerable sections of the populations.

This is especially true for services such as family planning, maternal health and child health.

The writer is the head of communications and public relations at the Marie Stopes Uganda - Faith Kyateka

Every year there are 1,600,000 pregnancies in Uganda and many of these pregnant women face the probability of living or dying while giving life. – Faith Kyateka

Every year there are 1,600,000 pregnancies in Uganda and many of these pregnant women face the probability of living or dying while giving life. According to the World Health Statistics report 2015, maternal mortality is at 320/100,000

Matched with the poor health seeking behavior (less than half of Ugandan women deliver with a skilled attendant) the need for a demand side intervention that actively engages both the private and public sector is clear.

In Uganda various demand side financing interventions have been tried which involve the use of subsidies or vouchers.

Voucher schemes like the Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher project implemented by Ministry of Health with Marie Stopes Uganda as the voucher management agency, are designed for women of reproductive age living below the poverty line.

Community health workers sell the voucher to pregnant women that entitle poor women to attend to skilled care during pregnancy, delivery and post-natal period in South Western and Eastern Uganda.

In this case a voucher is a document that authorises payment of a health service; therefore, it is a token that can be exchanged for a pre-defined set of health services or products. The voucher enables public subsidies for services or products to follow the client rather than being tied to providers.

The voucher system which is aimed at boosting maternal health services in 240 health facilities is being implemented in 25 districts of south west and eastern parts of the country.
Since the project started in April 2016, 65,000 expectant mothers have benefited from the project.

Specifically a total of 32,000 babies have been delivered to women from a socio-economic group that had a very low rate of uptake of maternal health services prior to the project. The demand for the voucher continues to be very high often exciding supply.

Dr. Michael Bukenya (chairperson of the health committee of Parliament) says that the voucher project proves that health financing is possible and therefore provides good lessons and benchmarks for the National Health Insurance Scheme which has been under review for a long time.

In conclusion, demand side financing projects particularly vouchers have proved to be effective in enhancing people’s motivation to seek for health services, improving health system performance and boosting facility deliverables as well as skilled birth attendance thereby contributing to the reduction of maternal mortality.

These services should be widely available to pregnant women in low resource settings. Therefore, as we mark International women’s day, It is critical that every pregnant woman and new-born has access to and receives good quality care and life saving interventions around the time of birth.

The writer is the head of communications and public relations at the Marie Stopes Uganda


#Beboldforchange is a tagline for International Women’s day which is marked every year on March 8. This theme gears us to all be responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender inclusive world where women and girls have quality education, health care, decent work, access and ownership rights over property and technology and equal participation in political and economic decision making.

The Minister Dr Jane Aceng with some of the key staff of Marie Stopes

The Minister Dr Jane Aceng with some of the key staff of Marie Stopes

According World Economic Forum, gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. This gender disparity is due to some factors like women being underrepresented in the government, they are the minority in the booming tech sector yet still shoulder more in the household burden and having a greater risk of rape and domestic violence. Are we therefore going to seat, cross our arms and wait for a decade and yet many women in Uganda face a wide range of challenges like discrimination and lack of economic self-sufficiency which has led to gender based violence, limited access to health care and family planning leading to maternal and neonatal mortality and limited resources for the girl child to be in school.

To address these gaps, we need to learn from and replicate projects that have worked well to empower women; these include but are not limited to subsides for women, investment income generating activities, supporting girls stay in school among others.

One such project that Maries Stopes is implementing is the Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Program. This is a 4 year Ministry of Health project aimed at increasing access to skilled care among poor women living in rural and disadvantaged areas during pregnancy and delivery. This project has empowered many less privileged mothers in Uganda to uptake antenatal care and safe delivery services thus strengthening institutional capacity to deliver reproductive health services to women and girls.

Therefore, to have more girls and women at the table, we must commit to advancing women and bring about change that is directly and aggressive reaching out to other women through coaching programs and initiatives; we need to identify the right forums which empower women socially, economically and also their health. We need to strengthen investments in service provision and advocacy more especially to health and family planning contraceptives, and a right to education for the girl child.


By. Mahoro Rose, Sexual Reproductive Counselor, Marie Stopes Uganda

Family Planning Voices: Iga Paul Jembelyambuzi, Community Mobilizer, Village Health Team, Marie Stopes International/Mubende District, Uganda

Family Planning Voices: A Tribute To World Vasectomy Day


Family Planning Voices: Iga Paul Jembelyambuzi, Community Mobilizer, Village Health Team, Marie Stopes International/Mubende District, Uganda

Iga Paul Jembelyambuzi, Community Mobilizer, Village Health Team, Marie Stopes International/Mubende District, Uganda

I have four kids. I believe family planning is a good practice, because I can handle my family well, and I can care for them. I recommend vasectomy—I’ve had one, provided by a Marie Stopes Uganda outreach, and it has allowed me to care for my family.

I try to share information about vasectomy with my community. So far this year, 10 men I’ve talked to have decided to get vasectomies. People have appreciated the option. Even just this month, I expect more people to accept the method. People who are yearning for a vasectomy range from 30 years of age on. They are eager to practice vasectomy.

If we’re going to advocate for people to accept vasectomy, they need to hear from people who have gotten a vasectomy themselves. You can’t come from far away, when you are not practicing that method, and advocate for it. It’s better for a person who has accepted a vasectomy to advocate for it.

Interviewer: Liz Futrell

Photographer: David Alexander

Interpreter: Muyanja Hosea Ssebulime



Motivation: Day Of The Girl

My motivation is very personal. I’m a mother of four girls—very beautiful girls. They are my motivation. I wake up every day and go to work to contribute to a world that enables them and others like them to develop to their fullest potential. That’s my drive…. I just want to see a world where girls are treated like people. In my culture, when you have girl children only, it’s like you haven’t had children. I’ve had members of my family walk up to me and say, “You know, you haven’t even started.” And it’s very disappointing, and when you think about the root cause, it’s because a girl child is going to grow up and get pregnant and not continue her education and get married to some random man whom the family doesn’t approve of—that’s the core of the problem. So if we can provide information, education, and services—contraceptive services—the girl child is sorted. And they can be everything they want to be. That’s, for me, the reason that I do what I do. #FPVoices #dayofthegirl
Carole Sekimpi, Country Director, Marie Stopes Uganda