Reducing delays to maternal and infant healthcare services

Project Title

Reducing delays to maternal and infant healthcare services in Bushenyi district of Uganda funded by the Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid) from July 2009 to June 2012.

Project Overview

The project funded by CORDAID focused on safe motherhood and new born survival to contribute to the achievement of Uganda’s Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, & 6. The specific project objective was to reduce delays leading to unsafe motherhood and infant deaths. The two major project implementation strategies were: (1) pooling resources at community level by all resident families; (2) subsidizing the premiums to allow for the automatic enrolment of women aged 18 – 49 years into the community health insurance schemes (CHIS). CHIS were the avenue for accessing benefits; (3) to give Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) to pregnant women and newborn babies free of charge; and (4) contracting local motorcycle riders to transport pregnant women to and from health care facilities. The major project interventions were:

  • Health education;
  • Promoting and supporting communities to create and operate CHIS to cover pregnant women and newborn babies;
  • malaria prevention among pregnant women and newborn babies;
  • engaging partner health care providers to improve the quality of services.

The project targeted to cover 12 parishes1, create 12 CHIS, bring on board two health care service providers, and cover 12,726 pregnant women and newborn.

Project Outcomes

The project was relevant locally, nationally and globally because of its focus on MDGs 4, 5, and 6. The emphasis on Child survival, maternal health, and community participation in financing healthcare matched the government priority areas. At community level, the project addressed priority needs of: transport for pregnant and new mothers to and from service providers; covering the costs of healthcare services; and introducing a formal communication and feedback mechanism between the communities and the healthcare providers through the CHI schemes.

In terms of coverage, 10 parishes had been reached. At the end of June 2012, ten schemes (2 running, 4 frozen, and 4 under creation) were in place. In total 408 pregnant women and 404 newborn babies benefited from the project. The most appreciated aspects of the project were the local transport system for pregnant women that was employed and the high involvement of the community members in the project implementation even if the direct beneficiaries were few.