KAMPALA, UGANDA —BRAC and Living Goods – the two organizations supporting the largest networks of frontline community health workers in Uganda – have announced an expanded partnership to improve maternal and child health within the country. The formal partnership will leverage their collective expertise to deploy digitally equipped community health workers and ensure continued delivery of essential community health services in light of COVID-19, with the goal of expanding family planning services, reducing maternal and child mortality, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
“This exciting expansion of our partnership enables the continuation and expansion of essential care for mothers and children at this challenging time,” said Executive Director of BRAC International, Dr. Muhammad Musa, a physician and former community health worker. “It ensures that the families and communities most in need will be reached with vital services – from pregnancy care to newborn follow-up, to specific disease prevention and treatment – in a way that is safe for them and for community health workers.”
According to a report from the World Health Organization, in Uganda COVID-19 has introduced barriers to training and deploying health care workers to enable the provision of services, particularly in remote areas; interrupted supply chains for delivery of lifesaving medical equipment and supplies; and complicated the communication of reliable health information. The expansion of this partnership therefore fills a crucial gap as COVID-19 pushes health care systems to the breaking point and limits access to lifesaving primary health services for the most vulnerable people.
“We recognize that our work in maternal, newborn and child health, family planning, and immunization is more important than ever before in this evolving COVID pandemic,” said Christine Namayanja, Country Director of Living Goods Uganda. “Living Goods has partnered with BRAC since the start of our operations in Uganda, and we’re excited to strengthen this collaboration to expand access to life-saving digitally-driven community health services.”
Through the partnership, community health workers will receive training in maternal and child health, family planning, COVID-19 awareness and prevention, and integrated community case management in alignment with Ministry of Health guidelines. They will be fully equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE), trained in proper protocols, and deployed with digital tools to:
- Improve pregnancy care, newborn follow-up, and care for children under five, including the prevention and treatment of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
- Expand family planning services, including a rollout of Sayana Press, an injectable contraceptive that is effective for 3 months.
- Educate communities on COVID-19, its prevention, its symptoms, and what to do if symptoms appear.
Since the onset of COVID-19, BRAC and Living Goods have coordinated their response efforts closely by sharing learnings and field protocols and jointly procuring personal protective equipment for frontline health workers. Both organizations are active in the Community Health Impact Coalition group which engages community health worker organizations globally to discuss challenges and best practices in deploying frontline workers during COVID-19.
BRAC and Living Goods will continue to support the Government of Uganda in amplifying the provision of critical care in response to these unprecedented needs, and to leverage data-driven learnings and drive innovation in the coverage, quality, speed, and equity of health care delivery.
The partnership draws on a history of groundbreaking collaboration between BRAC and Living Goods that began in 2007 and has been evaluated by a randomized controlled trial, which demonstrated that villages in Uganda served by a community health worker supported by BRAC or Living Goods experienced a 27 percent reduction in child deaths, a 33 percent drop in infant deaths, and a 28 percent decrease in neonatal mortality, in addition to measurable improvements in health knowledge and health-promoting behavior.
Notes to the editor
BRAC is a global leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programs to empower the most marginalized people in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC now touches the lives of more than 100 million people across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. BRAC takes a holistic approach to alleviating poverty, running programs in education, health care, financial inclusion, youth empowerment, agriculture, and more. In 2020, it was ranked the top NGO in the world by NGO Advisor for the fifth consecutive time.
ABOUT BRAC USA
Based in New York, BRAC USA is the North American affiliate of BRAC. BRAC USA provides comprehensive support to BRAC around the world by raising awareness about its work to empower people living in poverty and mobilizing resources to support its programs. BRAC USA also works closely with its international counterparts to design and implement cost-effective and evidence-based poverty innovations worldwide. BRAC USA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
ABOUT LIVING GOODS
Living Goods is a nonprofit organization that saves lives at scale by supporting digitally empowered community health workers (CHWs) who deliver care on call—making it easy for families in need to get the care they need. Beginning its operations in Uganda in 2007 and expanding into Kenya in 2015, Living Goods works with governments and partners to ensure community health workers have access to the digital technology, medical treatments, supervision and compensation to cost-effectively deliver high quality, impactful health services. At the end of 2020, Living Goods was supporting more than 10,000 CHWs in Kenya and Uganda to deliver care to more than 8 million people. Learn more at livinggoods.org.
USA: Jennifer Hyman
Uganda: Phionah Katushabe