In 2019, the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 convened over 8,000 individuals in diverse sectors from 170 countries to affirm support for reproductive health and rights. Over 1,200 commitments were made by governments, organizations, and individuals alike to work towards “three zeros” – zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.
As we join the world in celebrating the first anniversary of the ICPD25 summit on January 27th, Living Goods reaffirms its commitment to work with governments and like-minded partners to realize ‘a world of rights and choices for all.’
Globally, more than 800 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every day and 232 million women wanting to prevent pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive. At Living Goods, we firmly believe that strong community-based primary health systems are the key to achieving universal access to health services that address these issues and more. Community health is an impactful and cost-effective way of bringing health services to people where they live through promotive, protective, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative approaches.
Thankfully, community health is recognised globally, and by governments in the countries where we work, as a key driver to attaining universal health coverage and achieving the commitments in the ICDP25 agenda.
While events like the COVID-19 pandemic have threatened to reverse the gains made by disrupting sexual and reproductive health services globally, we believe that community health remains an effective way to deliver and maintain primary health services and is now more important than ever before.
Our commitment is to support the Kenyan and Ugandan governments in attaining their commitments to the three zeros by expanding access to high-quality primary healthcare at the community level.
In Kenya, we are supporting the government’s commitments to
1. Employ innovation and technology to ensure the attainment of the highest possible standard of health.
- Supporting the development of a national electronic community health information system (eCHIS). We are working alongside other partners to support the government in digitizing the community health system and integrate it into the broader health information system. The development of an electronic community health information system (eCHIS) is one of the government’s priorities as part of far-reaching health sector reforms to achieve UHC and enhance data use at all levels. Living Goods is the lead technical support partner on performance management, M&E, data use, and wraparound services and has embedded technical experts at the MOH to guide the first phase of implementation. This robust eCHIS will ultimately support improved health outcomes by leveraging digitally empowered CHVs to ensure seamless flow of reliable and timely data from the community to the national level.
- Supporting digitally-enabled CHWs to drive access to reproductive, newborn, maternal, and child health services– The government CHWs we support in seven counties are equipped with a phone loaded with our Smart Health app, which has workflows that standardize client counselling, assessment, and administration protocols for family planning services. This enables CHWs to facilitate health education sessions, register women of reproductive age taking up or switching family planning methods, determine their eligibility for family planning, recommend an appropriate method, and provide follow-up services. The mobile app sends alerts and reminders for follow-up visits while supporting CHW’s adherence to guidelines and protocols as they provide quality voluntary family planning services. All the data generated through these digital health tools are shared with the government and is used to inform decisions for CHW programs at every level.
2. To eliminate preventable maternal and new-born mortality
Living Goods works with digitally enabled government CHWs to promote maternal, new-born and child health and address the main causes of preventable deaths. Rather than focus on just a single disease, the CHWs we support register every pregnant woman, conduct pre- and post-natal visits, treat sick children, provide family planning counseling, and track immunizations. They also educate caregivers to prevent the leading causes of child mortality, monitor newborns to spot and address danger signs, and provide education on nutrition.
In Uganda, we are supporting the government’s commitments to
1. Promote Universal Access to all methods of family planning and reduce the unmet need for family planning from 28% to 10% by 2022.
Living Goods works at the community level with CHWs to help women plan and space their pregnancies by addressing the unmet need for family planning information and services, and the availability of quality, affordable and safe modern contraceptives. Using digital health technology CHWs are helping to advance access to family planning care at the community level in 19 districts in Uganda. Through these efforts, women of reproductive age are counseled and provided with the opportunity to access a broad range of contraceptives, including pills and condoms. They can also be referred to facilities for longer-term methods. These services help women plan and space their pregnancies.
2. Responding to COVID Pandemic: Supporting Sustained RMNCH Services
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have strengthened our commitment and support to the Ministry of Health and county governments to build stronger, more resilient community health systems. We have adapted our programming and launched integrated efforts to ensure the sustenance of effective community-based care in this critical period while supporting pandemic response.
Primarily we are:
- Supporting MOH & Local Government Effort through various technical, operational assistance that enables concerted action in national and local responses.
- Protecting and supporting CHWs through the provision of PPE, training, IEC materials, and adjusted compensation structures.
- Ramping up our ongoing advocacy efforts by engaging governments on recognition of CHVs, and on the inclusion of community health in COVID-19 legislative frameworks, budgets, PPE quantification, and reporting.
- Making programmatic adjustments to ensure continuity of essential services and interrupting COVID transmission.
We envision a world where every family can easily access the healthcare they need to survive and thrive.