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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Using Technology to Increase Family Planning Uptake

By Esther Nakkazi

Often times, leaders and the international community attend global conferences and make commitments towards causes they never honour because there is no mechanisms to make them accountable.

Now Samasha Medical Foundation, a Uganda non profit dedicated to advocating for improved health, has developed an innovation that can monitor if commitments are honoured and translated into implementable activities.

The Motion Tracker is an online monitoring tool that can track mechanisms made towards achievement of commitments made by governments and their leaders.

It is an evidence based tool based on the WHO health systems Framework monitoring service delivery, health workforce, information, medicines, financing and governance.

“This was a proof of concept project translating reproductive health global commitments into action at a country level,” said Moses Muwonge the director Samasha.

“It is an evidence based tool that has been very good for us to know how our resources are expended and has helped us to coordinate with all the stakeholders working on reproductive health issues,” said Dinah Nakiganda, the assistant commissioner reproductive health at the Ministry of Health.

The Government of Uganda made reproductive health related commitments at various global fora; in 2011 at Every Woman Every Child (EWEC), 2012 at the London Family Planning Conference –FP 2020 and in 2013 at the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC).

Samasha working with Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) developed a Commitments Compendium, which has a compilation of explicit and implicit statements from the Commitments made by Uganda, which were deconstructed into implementable activities that can be monitored, said Dr. Muwonge.

In the project methodology, selected individuals from organisations that contribute to reproductive health related commitments were selected basing on a stakeholder mapping matrix.

Primary data was collected using a partner contribution questionnaire and secondary data was collected through review of various documents like policy statements, newspaper articles. Data was also collected from key informant interviews, desk reviews, email correspondences, meetings one-on-one meetings and phone calls.

The methodology and tools have now been adapted by Burkina Faso and Zambia, said Muwonge.

Cornelia Asiimwe the program officer at Samasha says partner reporting on contribution to commitments increased from 23 in September 2015 when the project was launched to 64 in April 2016.

“The percentage of returning users has also grown. At first they were spending just about a minute now they take 3 minutes and more, which shows that they like the tool,” said Asiimwe.

After about a year now, the Motion Tracker has shown that the different commitments are either on track or have been or not achieved in regards to reproductive health commitments in the areas of finance, policy, service delivery, supply chain and technology said Asiimwe.

It also tracks the money and helps policy makers devote money to areas where it is needed most, said Nakiganda.

Espilidon Tumukurate an adviser for Jhpiego, said this is one of the success stories and now the innovation is an export. He however said that Samasha needs to get more funding and take the tool to the lower level- district- and also track how the money is helping deliver services.

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