Poverty Grading Tool Makes Access to Family Planning Services Easier

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In short
The clinics accept vouchers for ante natal, delivery and family planning services.

A poverty grading tool introduced by Marie Stopes is helping many poor young mothers to access family planning services. The tool uses a voucher system, which are issued by Community Based Distributors-CBD’s to both male and female of reproductive age between 15 to 30 years at 2000 shillings. In 2006, Ministry of Health in partnership with German Development Bank-KfW appointed Marie Stopes as a Voucher Management Agency to pilot a project on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), but it was later adopted in family planning.
 
The package has 4 voucher stickers which give clients 4 possible visits to Marie Stopes’s clinics or other facilities branded with the poverty grading blue strips. The clinics accept vouchers for ante natal, delivery and family planning services. Before one is issued with the voucher, an income level evaluation is done using indicators such as education, number of children, age, sanitation, food and nutrition and access to water to determine the level of poverty for a potential client. 

Doreen Elima, a registered Nurse at Marie Stopes Uganda Kavule clinic explains that reproductive services are categorized as long or short term and ordinarily cost between 30,000 to 70,000 shillings. Elima says when a client presents a voucher he or she is offered reproductive health services without additional costs. They range from vasectomy, tubal ligation, Intra Uterine Devices (IUD’s) as well as implants.

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In 2008, the Healthy Baby Maternal Health voucher project was launched in an effort to address some of the reproductive health issues affecting poor families’ especially young people. According to the United Nations Population Fund, adolescent pregnancy is a major contributor to maternal and child mortality, and to the vicious cycle of ill-health and poverty.  A statement issued by UNFPA during the World Population Day held on Thursday last week indicated that many young girls get pregnant as a result of discrimination, rights violations, inadequate education or sexual coercion and less by informed choices. Commenting on the subject, Annette Kyarimpa Coordinator of Maternal Health at Reproductive Health Uganda stressed the need to manage teenage pregnancies.

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The World Population Day day themed, ‘’Let girls be girls, invest in Teenage Pregnancy’ aimed at raising awareness on the issue of adolescent pregnancy.