25 June 2020

Partner Spotlight: Five Questions With Transform PHC

The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized hard-won gains in women’s, children’s and adolescent health. Though women and children are at less risk from the virus itself, the knock-off effects—such as limited access to vaccines and sexual and reproductive health resources—are projected to do immense harm. Every Woman Every Child believes that women and children must be placed at the center of COVID-19 recovery plans. In that spirit, we have launched a new “Five Questions” feature to feature partners who are working to make sure that no one from these vulnerable groups is left behind.

1. What is your organization’s primary concern with the global pandemic as it relates to women, children and adolescents?

Transform: Primary Health Care (Transform: PHC)—funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by Pathfinder International, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., and other implementing partners in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia—strengthens the Ethiopian health system by building the capacity of regional health bureaus to more effectively manage how primary health care services are delivered at the woreda (district) level, in primary hospitals, health centers, and health posts. The project strengthens the health system to improve the quality of care and increase access and use of antenatal care, contraception services, skilled deliveries, and child health services to improve outcomes for women, children, and their families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Transform: PHC is working with the Ethiopian government to ensure:

  • Health facilities are capable to continue providing essential health services and commodities to women, children, and adolescents
  • Women, children, and adolescents continue to seek out the health care services they need and are able to access these services when and where they need them
  • Accurate service delivery data are reported from health facilities into the health management information system (HMIS)

2. What concrete actions are you taking to advance/safeguard the goals of the EWEC Global Strategy during this time, specifically for ending all preventable deaths among women, children and adolescents by 2030?

Transform: PHC is providing training on contact tracing and surveillance to health workers at hospitals and health centers and supporting health facilities to implement proper Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices including safe patient flow. Transform: PHC participates in regional Emergency Operation Center (EOC) committees and coordination meetings, which allows the project to relay, prioritize, and respond to community-level needs and challenges and to coordinate response activities. 

Transform: PHC is working to update MNCH supportive supervision practices and tools to integrate COVID-19 protocols and adapt the essential service provision guidelines so health care workers are better prepared to continue providing services. The project is also developing and disseminating Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) media and materials in communities to share COVID-19 prevention and control information. These messages are disseminated via multiple channels, including audio mounted vehicles, to ensure that as many people as possible, including those who don’t have access to radio or TV, are aware of this critical information. To date, the project has reached more than 6.6 million people with COVID-19 related messages.

3. How are you supporting national COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, particularly in ensuring that women, children and adolescents remain at the center of such efforts?

Transform: PHC is supporting Ethiopia’s COVID-19 response in the following ways:

  • Representation at the national level COVID-19 response working group to inform COVID-19 response within MNCH services and need
  • Participation in woreda/district level coordination meetings to facilitate coordinated and aligned interventions with regional and national guidance
  • Funding regional EOC teams in priority districts and town administrations with a focus on MNCH urgent needs, such as deliveries
  • Deployed short-term mobilization of clinicians to two treatment centers and 15 laboratory technicians for sample collection to nine quarantine centers addressing serious and urgent demands.
  • On-going mentoring and supervision of public sector health facility staff in health facilities 

4. What impact will your organization have on the lives of women, children and adolescents, and how are you measuring this?

Transform: PHC has been tracking changes in MNCH service use rates after the onset of COVID-19 and provides this data to regional and national technical working groups. Transform: PHC also monitors data flows in the HMIS systems and provides on-site and remote support for data quality and data entry.  

By strengthening health facilities to be resilient and responsive, more women, children, and adolescents will have access to quality primary health care services. And by increasing the use of antenatal care, contraception services, skilled deliveries, and child health services, the project will contribute to improving health outcomes for women, children, and their families. 

5. Who (partner organizations) are you working with to achieve this?

  • National Implementing Partner: Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health, Regional Health Bureaus, Zonal Health Departments, Woreda Health Offices
  • Transform: PHC Implementing Partner Organizations: Pathfinder International (prime); Ethiopian Midwives Association; EnCompass; Abt Associates