As the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO) is a hub of communication among member countries and partner organization, the organization has an important role to share good practices, good models and expertise among alliance partners. To promote new and innovative programmes for population, development and reproductive health across the African continent, the PPD ARO produces reports, hosts study tours and shares reports produced by the PCCs to share these good practices with both policymakers and technical staff in government ministries and NGOs.
The goal of sharing good practices is to enable PPD Africa member countries to learn from each other and non-governmental organizations and improve reproductive health programmes through transfer of these practices, expertise and technologies.
The PPD ARO uses the following definition of a good practice: “PPD Africa prefers the term ‘good practices’ over ‘best practices,’ as the term ‘best practices’ necessitates rigorous evaluation, demonstrated success and impact and capacity for replication, which require a standard that very few, if any programmes can prove. PPD uses the UN Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality definition of a ‘good practice’ as ‘one that meets at least two of the following criteria: leads to an actual change, has an impact on the policy environment, demonstrates an innovative or replicable approach, or demonstrates sustainability.’ ‘Good practices’ also emphasize the contextual nature of relevant knowledge for development, over a universal model that is wholly abstract and non-sustainable in terms of local capacity.”
Thus, the information given on a good practice should not only include technical information, but also the relationship between the program and the cultural and social environment. “Good practices” are not necessarily perfectly successful (although practices can serve as models), but good practices do have take-away lessons to be learned and replicated.
Uganda Population Secretariat’s Work with Parliamentarians
Parliamentarians command considerable authority in legislation and policy formation while being deeply entranced in socio-political and cultural set-up of the countries, thus bridging between the leadership and people. Commitment of politicians to the ICPD Goals and MDGs as well as other emerging challenges in health, population and sustainable development is vital in addressing them successfully.
The Population Secretariat, together with Ministry of Health coordinates the implementation of the Reproductive Health Component of Country Population Program with an objective of improving policy environment for reproductive health in Uganda. As such, one of the identified stakeholders for POPSEC in this field are Members of Parliamentarian (MPs) that are key in influencing the health of the people within their constituencies.
Uganda’s Population Secretariat has partnered with members of the Uganda Parliament to support activities of the Standing Committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Matters, Committee on Social Services, and parliamentary groups including the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Food Security, Population and Development and the Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians (NAWMP).
Activities included supporting advocacy meetings to disseminate study findings, share experiences between MPs and technocrats, build consensus on key advocacy issues, and follow up on the developed action plans by MPs to assess progress on implementation. Uganda Population Secretariat also provided technical support to MPs, facilitated MP visits to health facilities, mobilized resources on the Parliamentary groups’ behalf, produced information bulletins for distribution to all MPs, and reached out to the media. The result of these activities has been improved knowledge at national and district levels, adolescent reproductive health friendly centers, new by-laws addressing population and reproductive health (e.g. local governments have passed by-laws to outlaw female genital cutting and early marriage), and MP oversight of Uganda’s roadmap to reduction of Maternal and neo-natal mortality.
Download the Uganda’s Population Secretariat’s Work with Parliamentarians report in English: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/ugandaparliament.pdf
Download the Uganda’s Population Secretariat’s Work with Parliamentarians report in French: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/ugandaparliamentf.pdf
Ethiopia’s Health Extension Programme
Public health financing usually gives priority to the curative sector. Until 2003, Ethiopia was no exception to the expansion of higher-level health care services such as hospitals at the expense of primary health care (PHC) to serve the rural population of the country (more than 84 percent of Ethiopians live in rural areas). But in 2003, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) launched a new health care plan, the “Accelerated Expansion of Primary Health Care Coverage,” through a comprehensive Health Extension Program (HEP). Recognizing the huge gap between need and health care services available, the Ministry of Health has focused on “providing quality promotive, preventive, and selected curative health care services in an accessible and equitable manner to reach all segments of the population, with special attention to mothers and children. The policy places particular emphasis on establishing an effective and responsive health delivery system for those who live in rural areas.”
At the core of Health Extension Program implementation is a sizeable cadre of new Health Extension Workers (HEWs), who are trained in a one-year programme to implement a Health Extension Package of 16 healthcare activities at the kebele (village) level. By 2010, 30,000 health extension workers (HEWs), almost all young women from the communities they serve, will be trained and distributed in pairs to live and work at the village-level throughout the country.
As a preventive health program, the HEP promotes four areas of care: Disease Prevention and Control, Family Health, Hygiene and Environmental Sanitation, and Health Education and Communication. HEWs spend 75 percent of their time visiting families in their homes and performing outreach activities in the community. They spend the remaining 25 percent of their time providing services at the health posts, including giving immunizations and injectable contraceptives, among other health and educational services. The Health Extension Workers also work in close collaboration with voluntary workers, such as community-based reproductive health agents (CBRHA) to provide reproductive health and family planning services at the household level.
Download the Ethiopian Health Extension Programme report in English: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/ethiopiahep.pdf
Download the Ethiopian Health Extension Programme report in French: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/ethiopiahepf.pdf
South Africa’s National Adolescent-Friendly Clinic Initiative
Extensive research has indicated that South African public health facilities are failing to provide adolescent-friendly health services. This happens in the face of a big crisis where by with the current rate of HIV infection, more than 50% of South Africans under 15 today could die of AIDS related causes in the next 5-10 years.
The National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative (NAFCI) is an accreditation program designed to improve the quality of adolescent health services at the primary-care level and strengthen the public sectors ability to respond to adolescent health needs. NAFCI is implementing an innovative approach to improving adolescent health services by making health services more accessible and acceptable to young people, establishing national standards and criteria for adolescent health care in clinics throughout the country, and building the capacity of health care workers to provide quality services.
Download the South African National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative report in English: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/southafricaadolescent.pdf
Download the South African National Adolescent Friendly Clinic Initiative report in French: http://ppdafrica.org/docs/southafricaadolescentf.pdf
Ghana’s Integration of Population Variables into Development Planning
The International Conference on Population and Development-Programme of Action recommended the full integration of population variables into development planning. The Revised National Population Policy also recognized the interrelationship between population, sustained economic growth and development. Consequently the National Population Council in collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with support from UNFPA developed fifteen training modules on various sectors including health, education, housing, water and sanitation etc. to facilitate the integration of population factors into development planning. The National Population Council used the Modules to build the capacity of district assembly staff to enable them in practical ways integration population concerns into their district development planning process. Training began with the district planning officers and some budget officers from the three northern regions. There have been training for some planning and budget officers in the other regions. Advocacy seminars were also organized for some District Chief Executives to solicit their support for the programme.
The result was that district personnel had been equipped with the requisite skills to enable them plan more effectively. Some districts have effectively utilized the Modules in the preparation of their district development plans. Awareness had also been created among stakeholders such as district chief executives and district coordinating directors on the need to integrate population into development planning.
The use of the integration modules makes planning easier and more realistic. The sensitization and involvement of the district chief executives and coordinators in the training facilitated the utilization of the modules. There are however difficulties with limited resources for training, high staff turnover at the district level, limited political commitment to integration of population factors into development. The Module are to be reviewed and updated.
The Integration Modules is recommended to all PCCs. It is however important to involve all stakeholders not only at the district level but at all levels.