CTPH LAUNCHES MOBILE CLINICS IN KISORO DISTRICT
In pursuing its mission, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) started to implement a mobile clinic program in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Kisoro District, western Uganda focused on increasing access to family planning services based on a model being implemented by Dandelion Africa in Kenya, with support from CHASE Africa. This is aimed at bringing the family planning (FP) services to the people in these remote areas who cannot easily access these services from the nearest health centre or Village Health and Conservation Teams (VHCTs). This would help to reduce time and costs incurred by community members in terms of transport to the nearest health center, which is usually many miles away, to get started on or to continue with family planning.
Staff from local health centers as well as CTPH trained VHCTs visited Rubuguri community to provide a day of family planning services and HIV testing. We realized that the VHCTs mainly distribute pills and condoms to short-term family planning users and referring long-term family planning users to health centers, so we used the existing community relationship of VHCTs to encourage community members to seek care at the mobile clinic. The concept is simple; use a van loaded with drugs, family planning commodities and medical professionals to the designated remote places to provide the necessary services to the people.
Through the support of the Uganda Health Marketing Group most of the family planning commodities needed for the mobile clinic were provided for free. After a week of community mobilizations with the District Health Officers, the VHCT’s and the staff at the health centers, the mobile clinic was launched on 4 August 2016.
Eighty-one VHCTs were mobilized for training and received guidance and counseling from enrolled nurses at the local health centers. Clinical Officer, Kwizera Jackson and Enrolled Comprehensive Nurse, Owomugisha Aloysius offered family planning services to the people ranging from pills to implants, and also worked with one of the VHCT members, Monday Phillip, to distribute condoms. Six expecting mothers visited the Antenatal Care desk where Enrolled Mid-wife, Kesiime Ruth offered counseling on maternal health related services. The final stop had Nursing Officer, Annet and Lab Technician, George carry out HIV and pregnancy tests. All in all more than 100 people received services from the mobile clinic.
The mobile clinic brought family planning services directly to the patients where they voluntarily chose the services they needed—putting the patient in control of their health needs. The communities also provided feedback during the clinic asking our team to target market days so that more people are able to attend. CTPH’s first mobile clinic was a success and we plan to use mobile clinics in new communities starting with Nteko parish in Nyabwishenya subcounty, Kisoro District.