Mobile Outreach Services Project
Women and men living in remote areas have little to no access to family planning services—particularly services for long-acting and reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods. It is especially challenging in Ethiopia, which has one of the lowest ratios of doctors per population in the world.
In partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, EngenderHealth responded to this pressing need through the Mobile Outreach Services Project, a project funded by the Merck Company Foundation. Launched in May 2012, the project worked with remote health care facilities across three districts and trains health care providers to offer counseling so that women and men can make informed choices about a variety of family planning options, including LARCs. Additionally, we trained community health workers to engage their communities by creating awareness about family planning, offering counseling, and conducting client follow-ups. Community health workers traveled door-to-door to ensure that more people were reached.
Over the three years of the project (2012-2015), the project successfully built the capacity of 23 host health facilities and 72 mobile outreach health facilities to introduce, promote, and sustain mobile outreach services to ensure contraceptive choices for women and men in remote and underserved communities of three regions. By the end of the project, a total of 31,489 clients received LARCs, which was 57% over our initial projection. During the last quarter of the project, 64% of the project-supported sites for long-acting family planning services successfully provided routine intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUCDs) or implant services on their own, without support from the host team or the project. Importantly, this signals sustainability of the intervention beyond the span of the project.