Kampala, 7th October 2011: The Karamoja area of Uganda is among the poorest and most underserved in Uganda. Nurses like Sister Anne, pictured here in her maternity ward at the Moroto Referral Hospital, know that family planning services are vital in combating the high unmet need for contraception and the unacceptable maternal mortality rates that persist in Karamoja.
Sister Anne is just one of the public sector health workers we have helped to provide family planning services to the underserved communities of Karamoja in the northeast of Uganda.
In this part of Uganda contraceptive prevalence is very low, family planning service provision has been almost non-existent and ongoing violence and insecurity makes providing services difficult. Many thousands of women in the region have not heard of family planning and face huge cultural barriers to controlling their own fertility.
That’s why we‘re training public health workers like Sister Anne, building the capacity of the public sector to do its work.
Sister Anne was excited to receive training in providing long term methods of family planning from Marie Stopes Uganda. She’s the first nurse on her ward to learn how to insert and remove IUDs and contraceptive implants, skills that were largely absent from the national curriculum on which she was trained.
Programme Director, Social Marketing, Christine Namayanja, said: “We are proud to contribute to health systems strengthening and make major strides in the achievement of the Government of Uganda’s commitment to accelerate the reduction of maternal mortality.”
Today, the manager of the facility identifies Sister Anne as their biggest champion of family planning, both providing services herself and referring women to Marie Stopes Uganda outreach teams when they visit.
Marie Stopes Uganda operates two mobile clinical outreach teams, one funded by USAID and another by UNFPA, in the rural areas of Karamoja. And these outreach teams continue to be important as the public sector builds capacity.
Our research shows that many women do wish to space births or stop having children once the choices are explained to them in one of our health education sessions or community dialogues.
In 2010 alone, we served over 200,000 clients in Uganda, mostly in poor, rural areas with little access to family planning. And these services will prevent approximately 870 maternal deaths.
Combining our provision of services with training public health workers means that we are having a lasting and sustainable impact on the lives of the people of Uganda.
Visit the Marie Stopes Uganda website to find out more about our impact
Read more about our UNFPA partnership