Vouchers that Make Having a Baby Safe and Cheap for More Ugandan Women

Uganda has affordable health care for some of its poorest women.

Uganda has affordable health care for some of its poorest women.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A UShs4,000 (US$1) voucher covers antenatal visits, delivery, and post-natal care
  • Vouchers are intended for poorer women in two mostly rural regions of Uganda
  • Even the cost of assisted births, such as Caesareans, are covered

KANUNGU, May 30, 2017 – Anna Katushabe’s daughter came into the world in early May by Caesarean-section delivery, and so both mother and daughter spent longer than expected in Rugyeyo Community Hospital. Ordinarily, the longer stay would have been a worry for the young mother; for Anna, however, her C-section delivery cost only UShs 4,000, just over US$1.

The secret to keeping safe childbirth cheap lies in an innovative voucher programme that gives pregnant women affordable, effective medical attention. When she was four months pregnant, Anna bought a reproductive health care voucher for UShs 4,000. This gave her access to a health facility throughout her pregnancy, and she knew it would cover the delivery and medical care for six weeks after her baby’s birth as well.

Rugyeyo hospital is in Kanungu District, 260 miles (420km) from Kampala on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A normal (vaginal) birth usually costs UShs 46,000 (US$13) at the hospital, while Caesarean births cost UShs 316,000 (US$88).

Uganda was the first country in Eastern Africa to use these health vouchers, starting with a pilot programme in 2006.

Funded by KfW, the German Development Bank, the pilot project, Healthy Life, subsidised the cost of treating sexually transmitted infections. The scheme expanded in 2008, when KfW and the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid gave it US$6.2 million to subsidize safe deliveries as well.

The program in south-western Uganda was very successful, helping with nearly 66,000 deliveries, 130% of its initial target. Uganda’s Ministry of Health then expanded it to other districts through its Reproductive Health Voucher Project, which was funded with US$13.3 million from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) through the Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA).


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Giving birth in remoter rural areas

More than 200,000 vouchers have since been sold in 25 districts in south-western Uganda and central-eastern Uganda. Marie Stopes Uganda manages the distribution of vouchers, and a poverty-grading tool is designed to help the program reach the most vulnerable women.

The project’s objective is to increase the amount of access poorer women living in disadvantaged rural areas have to skilled medical care. It covers the cost of:

  • four antenatal visits,
  • a safe delivery under skilled supervision,
  • one postnatal visit,
  • the treatment and management of some pregnancy-related medical conditions and complications, including Caesarean-sections
  • and emergency transport.

“This program started at our facility in May 2016,” Dr. Hadus Masereka, the medical superintendent at the hospital. “About 40 out of the 50 pregnant women who have ended-up delivering by C-section since, have had vouchers.” This saved the lives of women who would have been unable to afford this expensive, often emergency, procedure. Many Ugandan women deliver their babies in sometimes less-than-ideal conditions at home.

Such new health initiatives are helping reverse Uganda’s high rates of infant and maternal mortality, with maternal mortality falling from 438 to 336 deaths for 100,000 live births between 2011 and 2016, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Infant mortality has also fallen from 432 deaths to 54 per 1000 live births.

The voucher system shows that with a little money and innovation, the process of giving life does not have to be a matter of life and death for Ugandan mothers like Anna. By the end of March 2017, the project had provided help for more than 43,000 births, including 31,000 normal deliveries, 6,500 assisted deliveries, and 5,600 C-sections.

In some areas, the system has also reduced the burden public health care facilities face when it comes to childbirth care, because vouchers have made private, for-profit health centres accessible to women.

About the Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Project

The Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Project increases skilled medical care during pregnancy and delivery for poor women living in rural and disadvantaged areas.

International Youth Day 2016

In celebration of the International Youth day on August 12, 2016, Marie Stopes launched and opened up its Youth corner for young people at Kavule Health Center. This was witnessed by a number of youth leaders from various organisations.  The day was celebrated with pomp and colour as various youth showcased their talents in music, dance and drama.

Youth taking part in a dance challenge at Kavule centre

Youth taking part in a dance challenge at Kavule centre

Marie Stopes Uganda has set up 2 youth friendly spaces in Kampala and Tororo district with the aim of attracting youth to receive information and SRH services like contraceptives use, condoms and STI management. The facilities are set up in a way that promotes an atmosphere of relaxation and are fully equipped with games like table tennis, quizzes, reading materials, education videos and refreshments.

The youth spaces are meant to engage youth through interaction with peer educator counselors and youth volunteers trained in providing youth friendly services. At the youth space, learning activities on primary preventive approaches like contraceptive use to prevent unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS are done with the participation of youth themselves which allows expression of their views on issues that affect them.

vicky's dilema

Youth watching “Vicky’s dilemma” at the youth corner.

This platform equips youth with correct knowledge and shapes a positive attitude towards health choices not limited to safe sex practices but also life skills and a positive shift in health seeking behaviors.

Youth Friendly spaces are a popular way of passing knowledge to youth which eventually improves their demand for SRH services and is credited most for the friendly interaction that allows active participation of both service provider and youth participants.

World Population Day Celebrations

Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate World Population day on 11th July 2016. Uganda has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in the world; over 78% are under 30 years old. According to the State of Uganda Population Report 2012, Ugandan youth remain at a significant risk of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unwanted pregnancy.

Investing in Young people’s Sexual Reproductive Health has a direct contribution towards improving their livelihoods. This can be through availing timely Reproductive Health Information, education and services.

To mark World Population Day, Marie Stopes Uganda is conducting a community awareness drive in  Mbarara, Hoima and Kabale. The health awareness community  drive are an opportunity for the public to learn about world population day with regards to their reproductive health. MSU will also be disseminating key health promotion messages in various towns as well as offering free family planning counselling, breast cancer and blood pressure examination. Other services will be at half price at our centers on the day’s below;

Mbarara – 10th and 11th July

Hoima – 15th and 16th July

Kabale – 22nd and 23rd July

MSU  will also be conducting;

–             Community Drives  highlighting Family Planning messages.

–             Free Information Education Communication (IEC) materials on facts on the hotline, and cervical cancer.

–             Cervical cancer screening

–             And HIV testing and counselling.

–             Free physical examination by health workers.

Please call the toll free hotline on 0800220333 for more information.

 

Youth Friendly Spaces Launched In Centres

It is estimated that approximately only 50% of the youth do not use health facilities due to lack of youth friendly services. Many youths fear to discuss SRH issues due to stigma from the health staff, others fear to disclose their conditions to due to traditional factors.

Marie Stopes Uganda has set up 2 youth friendly spaces in Kampala and Tororo district with the aim of attracting youth to receive information and SRH services like contraceptives use, condoms and STI management. The facilities are set up in a way that promotes an atmosphere of relaxation and are fully equipped with games like table tennis, quizzes, reading materials,DSC_0187 education videos and refreshments.

The youth spaces are meant to engage youth through interaction with peer educator counselors and youth volunteers trained in providing youth friendly services.

At the youth space, learning activities on primary preventive approaches like contraceptive use to prevent unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS are done with the participation of youth themselves which allows expression of their views on issues that affect them.

This platform equips youth with correct knowledge and shapes a positive attitude towards health choices not limited to safe sex practices but also life skills and a positive shift in health seeking behaviors.

Youth Friendly spaces are a popular way of passing knowledge to youth which eventually improves their demand for SRH services and is credited most for the friendly interaction that allows active participation of both service provider and youth participants.

Marie Stopes International at 2016 Women Deliver Conference

From May 16-19, experts from around the world traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to take part in the Women Deliver conference. A delegation from Marie Stopes proudly participated in this year’s conference, sharing their knowledge at some of our sessions and running our exciting photo exhibition, “Universal access: One woman at a time.”

Thanks to the successes of Women Deliver’s three previous conferences- London (2007), Washington, DC (2010) and Kuala Lumpur (2013)- the 2016 Conference was highly anticipated. This meeting gathered world leaders, advocates, policymakers, young people, journalists and researchers across geographic regions and development sectors. Together, they demonstrated the power of putting girls and women at the forefront of development efforts. The 2016 Conference focused on the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to implement them as they relate to women and girls, with a specific focus on health. In particular, how the SDGs relate to the maternal, sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls around the world, with an emphasis on the inter-connectedness of women’s health, gender equality, education, economic empowerment and the environment.

Marie Stopes International was proud to attend the 2016 Women Deliver Conference; we are sent a delegation comprising MSI staff members from across our global partnership- Uganda, the U.S., China, Kenya, the U.K. and more.

Did you be attend Women Deliver 2016? If so, we hope that you enjoyed at our sessions and visited our photo exhibition, “Universal access: One woman at a time” at the exhibition hall C2, stand 012.

Vodaphone joins Marie Stopes in boosting reproductive health among University Students

Marie Stopes Uganda, in conjunction with Hostalite Cyber Academy and Vodafone have organised the first ever inter-university hackathon on health with emphasis on sexual reproductive health due to take place on 13th and 14th May in Kampala.

 

 

Dickson Mushabe- Regional Manager Hostalite Ltd and Faith N. Kyateka- Communications and External Relations manager Marie Stopes Uganda receive the shs8 million dummy cheque from Jackie Namara Rukare- Marketing Manager Vodafone Uganda for their joint partnership challenge dubbed “Hackathon” at the Vodafone head office.

Dickson Mushabe- Regional Manager Hostalite Ltd and Faith N. Kyateka- Communications and External Relations manager Marie Stopes Uganda receive the shs8 million dummy cheque from Jackie Namara Rukare- Marketing Manager Vodafone Uganda for their joint partnership challenge dubbed “Hackathon” at the Vodafone head office.

 

The hackathon that has attracted local developers and innovators from 12 universities across Uganda, is in response to the growing commitment to leverage information and communication technologies to empower young people, complimenting Marie Stopes Uganda’s ongoing work in the area of reproductive health.

Speaking at the launch of the Challenge today, Faith N. Kyateka, the Communications and External Relations Manager, Marie Stopes Uganda, said, “Reaching young people with Sexual Reproductive Health information and services is one of the key focal priorities of Marie Stopes Uganda. This is because youth makeup majority of Uganda’s population. Developing an APP is therefore essential because 80% of youth in Uganda have access to media through mobile phones.”

Faith N. Kyateka- Communications and External Relations manager Marie Stopes Uganda shows to the press a copy of the medical card that will be rewarded to winners of the “Hackathon”, an app innovation challenge hosted by Vodafone Uganda, Marie Stopes and Hostalite E.A.

Faith N. Kyateka- Communications and External Relations manager Marie Stopes Uganda shows to the press a copy of the medical card that will be rewarded to winners of the “Hackathon”, an app innovation challenge hosted by Vodafone Uganda, Marie Stopes and Hostalite E.A.

Each university will be represented by four individuals and the winning team will walk away with mega prizes in addition to 3 months incubation at the Hostalite Cyber Academy, and exposure to funding from Marie Stopes Innovation fund.

Marie Stopes Health App Challenge

App Challenge_PosterUniversity students are set to gather with tech enthusiasts at a two-day health hackathon scheduled to take place on 13th and 14th May 2016 in Kampala.

The first ever inter-university hackathon on health, specifically sexual reproductive health is being organized by Marie Stopes in conjunction with Hostalite Cyber Academy.
Young people from different universities, along with innovators, developers, partners and Marie Stopes Uganda will gather for a two-day hackathon dubbed #Hcahack.
It will be a collaborative event that aims to have the participants develop a mobile health app solution that promotes young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services.
This event will witness participants from 12 universities and they code programs and applications to meet the objectives of the hackathon. Each university will be represented by a group of four individuals.
Developers from the different universities who can code along with the association of young people who can make successful mobile application solutions are encouraged to apply.
The participants will spend 24 hours building a new mobile app. Four teams will develop the app which is designed to increase uptake of Sexual Reproductive Health Services in Uganda. On completion, each team will present a demo their project (app) to other hackers taking part in the hackathon and to an audience of over 100 local supporters gathered to hear/learn about the best app and to celebrate the launch of the top app selected.
The winning team will walk away with mega prizes in addition to 3 months incubation at the Hostalite Cyber Academy, exposure to funding from Marie Stopes Innovation fund.
“It is our duty to support, shape, encourage and help the young Innovators reach their potential.”
Powered by Marie Stopes Uganda, sponsored by Vodafone and organized by Hostalite Cyber Academy, the hackathon responds to a growing commitment to leverage information and communication technologies to empower young people, complimenting Marie Stopes Uganda’s ongoing work in the area of reproductive health.
Using methods drawn from design thinking and creative problem solving, the hackathon will encourage participants to think outside-the-box and design unconventional solutions to promote young people’s sexual reproductive health. The hackathon will follow principles of “user-centred design”, actively engaging young people in the development of solutions that are based on their real needs and experiences. After two days of designing and developing, the hackathon will conclude with a pitch session, where an expert panel of judges will select the winning app prototype(s)

Six Girls Only But Happily Contented

Tubal ligation (TL) is a surgical family planning procedure which renders a woman permanently incapable of giving birth or making someone pregnant. But what would make someone decide never to get pregnant again?
For 31-year-old Hasfah Logose, a resident of Jinja municipality, it is the number of children and her inability to care for them.
“I have six children, with the eldest being 13 and the youngest now four months old. They are all girls but even though I don’t have any boy, I don’t want to give birth to any other child,” Logose said as she awaited her turn to be taken to the theatre for her tubes to be cut.
She adds that her children have three fathers but her current partner and the father to her last born has seven wives and is never around. However, even though she has come to be worked upon today, she wanted to stop giving birth about four years ago.

Logose and her baby
“I wanted to stop giving birth four years ago but my friends discouraged me saying that it is too painful and that after the surgery, the tubes reconnect and one can get pregnant again. Others instead encouraged me to use herbal methods all in vain,” Logose continues.
Logose is one of the women who are now able to get the service after Marie Stopes – Uganda, a non-governmental organisation trained clinical officers to carry out the minor surgery in the absence of doctors. Over the past years, Marie Stopes Uganda has piloted task sharing of surgical contraception namely tubal ligation and vasectomy using clinical officers. Data accruing from the Clinical Officers study on Task Sharing suggests that the intervention is safe, acceptable and highly satisfactory. Task sharing is therefore fundamental in increasing access to surgical contraceptive services in Uganda.