One in four women of reproductive age in East Africa can’t get the contraception they need. In low-wealth communities and in remote and rural areas, it can be even more difficult to get needed sexual and reproductive health services. With health systems overloaded by the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities serving women and girls have closed or cut back the services they offer.
Some of Hesperian’s partners quickly realized that our reproductive health apps offer alternative ways to support women’s access to care in times when in-person services are unavailable or limited. One partner, Health Development and Performance (HDP) of Rwanda, translated our Family Planning and Safe Abortion apps into Kinyarwanda. Their experience and expertise transformed the apps into culturally and linguistically appropriate tools they use to train health providers on youth-friendly approaches to reproductive health for adolescents — a group almost completely cut off from access to reproductive health by the pandemic.
Additionally, we are working with Ipas, Ethiopia to create the Amharic and Afaan Oromoo versions of the Family Planning app that will be introduced and tested by Ethiopian Health Extension Workers (HEWs) this spring. The Ministry of Health in Ethiopia will pilot the use of these Family Planning apps so their HEWs can extend the delivery of contraception counseling and services.