An aspect of building capacity is the provision of equipment such as consumables, fetal monitoring, phototherapy machine, echography machine, revival equipment, and others, which will help local clinics replace their failing equipment and prepare them for increased patients as they seek to service more mothers. The donation of equipment will be complemented by training in quality assurance and maintenance of the material to ensure its proper use, as well as to develop the skills of local health workers.
On August 2020, ELAKA visited the Tout est Grace clinic in Kingabwa and donated medical supplies including thermometers, pulse oximeters, masks and gloves. From Bisonabiso’s #SUPPORTELAKA Campaign, funds were used to provide other supplies such as an obstetrical kit, a sterilizing pot, a scale, a blood pressure monitor, a microscope and a medical chair.
Performance incentive is recommended as we plan to develop an outreach team that will spend time in the community doing preventive and awareness education. In a context of high poverty such as DRC, a financial incentive can greatly motivate the workforce when effectively applied. Further, the financial incentive serves as a form of appreciation to the outreach team while they are out educating and recruiting potential candidates for the voucher program.
The outreach will serve to inform the population on the prenatal services provided by Elaka and its local partners and how they can benefit from it. For the community, the outreach will help educate on common maternal risks, habits that help to reduce pregnancy-related risks, the voucher program, how to access it, and other available tools. Additionally, community outreach/education can serve as a means to teach the importance of preventive care and timely follow-up.
With the support of the Roddenberry Foundation, ELAKA has been working to develop a multi-language maternal health mobile app since November 2021. As shown below, the app will serve to educate mothers and health professionals about topics such as prenatal consultation, assisted delivery, postnatal consultation, newborn care and more.
Based on the financial barrier expressed by mothers during the needs assessment that we conducted, and the difficulties that clinics experience in reaching more members of the community, an intervention to close this gap is needed. The voucher program will subsidize part of the user fees for prenatal care and make the clinic’s services more accessible to the population at large.
With the support of Women Graduates-USA, ELAKA launched a pilot project at Tout est Grace from October 2020. The project involved designing a program for women to participate in monthly prenatal consultations based on maternal health needs. As of December 2021, the program covered 50 initial prenatal consultations, 150 follow up prenatal consultations and 53 pregnancy deliveries.