Innovative ways to improve access to reproductive health care: The Egyptian experience

Innovative ways to improve access to reproductive health care:

The Egyptian experience

M. Abou Nar, H. Hammad, R. Mostafa, M. Afifi


International, Cairo, Egypt

This abstract describes a comprehensive and

integrated approach that improves the quality/availability of reproductive

health services and empowers community members to utilize available services.

The TAHSEEN Project is the last USAID-funded reproductive health project in

Egypt and employs a comprehensive approach emphasizing technical assistance to

host country institutions, community mobilization, improved quality of care and

sustainability. The Project works simultaneously with youth, literacy

facilitators, irrigation and agriculture extension workers, women’s groups,

service providers, drivers, communications professionals, religious and

community leaders, local and national government officials and the commercial

and NGO sectors to improve the quality of — and increase access to –reproductive

health services. As of January 2006, the Project is active in 68 communities in

5 governorates in Egypt. Initial results are very encouraging. Awareness of

family planning and reproductive health issues among several demographics has

increased. Within a year, caseload in the Project’s first five communities show

a five-fold increase (from 2,575 to 13,303), a doubling in couple-years

protection (CYP) (744.8 to 1696.9), an increase of 60 percent in the number of

pregnant women seeking care at these clinics (from 1575 to 2679) and a

noticeable shift to long-acting family planning methods illustrated by an

increase in the share of IUDs to the CYP from 50 percent in the fourth quarter

of 2003 to 71 percent. The key lessons learned during implementation include the

importance of adopting a participatory approach to development and the benefits

of pursuing a fully integrated and comprehensive model.

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