Clinical outreach is a core part of our work to bring sexual and reproductive health services to the world’s most under-served people.
In remote rural communities, the unmet need for reproductive health and family planning services remains especially acute because clinics or hospitals are scarce, too expensive to reach, or lack the necessary skilled staff and equipment. And the same access issues often persist in the urban slums.
Delivering choice to under-served communities
Our mobile outreach teams bring free or subsidised services in over 30,000 remote rural locations and urban slums in 26 countries and in 2012 1.6 million people accessed services through our clinical outreach. Our outreach teams are delivering counselling and high quality voluntary family planning services to women and men who would not otherwise be able to access them.
In many developing countries long acting and permanent methods of contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and vasectomies are only available in urban health facilities if at all.
Often the regular healthcare provider in the area will only offer short term methods of contraception such as pills and sometimes injectables. Our approach is to work in partnership with existing providers to deliver a full range of family planning services.
A day in the life of an outreach team
An outreach team’s might include a doctor, midwife or other health professionals and a trained 4x4 driver. Their day will typically start first thing in the morning when they set out in a 4x4 vehicle (normally from one of our centres), to conduct an outreach visit of one day or longer to a rural area or urban slum.
They will visit the same sites regularly and build up relationships with local practitioners and communities in order to provide regular services.
Community health workers and local healthcare providers let local people know about the visit in the days and weeks beforehand. The team will be based in a host facility, usually a rural health centre, but sometimes a school, workplace or even a purpose-built tent.
Our outreach teams are often greeted by large numbers of women seeking our services. They hold interactive group education sessions discussing a wide range of family planning options as well as providing one on one counselling to those interested in receiving a method during intake.
Meanwhile the procedure room is set up and arrangements are made to ensure client comfort, confidentiality, and infection prevention.
Ensuring client comfort in difficult locations
Our team will transform the local facility into an infection free environment to deliver intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, female sterilisations, vasectomies, short term contraception and other reproductive health services.
Rigorous clinical protocols, guidelines and procedures are used to ensure the care on offer is of the highest quality.
The team also makes arrangements with local healthcare providers for follow up care for any clients experiencing problems after our team has left.
Around 60% of our clients connect with our services through our outreach teams, whose work draws on decades of experience in delivering services in difficult locations.
Read about Farari, just one of the who received family planning services on outreach in rural Zimbabwe.
Serving remote communities
These service delivered by outreach teams are having a significant impact on the choice of contraceptive methods in remote communities by giving women family planning choices in countries like Malawi, Madagascar and Yemen.
And because we work hand in hand with local health authorities we’re also helping to build sustainable local health services for the long term by becoming an integral part of national health systems.
Support work like this around the world
Our teams around the world help women and families to understand their family planning choices and provide them with life-saving services. But they cannot do that job without the money to pay for transport, equipment and other vital supplies and expenses.
Please help support this work by donating (with either a one-off or a regularly monthly gift) so that we can continue to run our health work in Uganda and around the world, saving lives and supporting women and communities.
Please donate today.