By Francis Emorut
Health experts in East, Central and Southern Africa have advocated for new healthcare packages to reduce the death of newborns and expanding access to family planning in the region.
“We are concerned that maternal and infant mortality rates are still high in the region and, therefore, the need to design healthcare packages that will reverse the situation, especially at the community level,” Dr. Odongo Odiyo, the manager family planning and reproductive health of East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) said.
Odiyo was speaking during a regional workshop to validate the regional standard practice package for expanding access to family planning, maternal, newborn and child health services at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on Wednesday.
Odiyo pointed out that because of unco-ordinated healthcare packages and outdated approaches, the countries in the region may not meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four, five and six by 2015.
He said healthcare packages should be designed in a manner that targets people living in rural areas, who are between 60% and 80% of the population.
Due to their low levels of education, understanding issues such as family planning and the need to give birth in a health facility is very low.
The USAID East Africa reproductive health specialist, Dr. Sarah Onyango, said community-based healthcare packages are critical and cannot be overemphasised.
She urged the member states to ensure that high standards of healthcare are maintained so as to improve the quality of life of the people in the region.
She advocated for the integration of healthcare packages in the region and using resources efficiently to address the needs of rural people.
The acting assistant commissioner of health services in the ministry of education, Dr. Collins Tusingwire, emphasised the need to mobilise the community on issues of family planning, maternal and infant mortality.
Experts call for healthcare packages