Mobile Clinic Brings Reproductive Health Services to Remote Villages in Togo
Mrs. Lonlonyo, a 42-year-old mother of five, had given up hope of ever receiving reproductive health services in her village. Located 150 kms northeast of Lome, Togo, in the Maritime region, the village is 10 kilometers from the nearest health center. Mrs. Lonlonyo had a five-year Norplant implant inserted eleven years ago. She hadn't removed the implant because she couldn't afford to travel to the health center.
Recently, the Association Togolaise pour Le Bien-Etre Familial (ATBEF), a local non-governmental organization operating a mobile clinic, visited her village. At the mobile clinic, Mrs. Lonlonyo was able to have her implant removed and receive family planning counseling. She opted for a 10-year IUD.
"I would have become pregnant again at my age or die with the Norplant capsules in my arm," said Mrs. Lonlonyo. "Allow me to say thank you to all of you and to your partners who think of those of us in remote areas who need services of this nature."
In Togo, use of modern family planning methods increased substantially from 2000 to 2006, but forty-one percent of married women of reproductive age still have an unmet need for family planning.
The USAID West Africa Regional Health Office's Action for West Africa Region II (AWARE II) project, managed by MSH, strengthens existing health networks to guarantee the availability of health services to remote parts of Togo. One mechanism the project uses is the West Africa Ambassadors' Fund (WAAF) grant. Many of these small one-year grant activities have served as models of best practices for subsequent scale-up by other donors.
In 2011, ATBEF signed a grant agreement with the USAID AWARE II project as part of the West Africa Ambassadors' Fund to offer reproductive health services in the outermost parts of Togo. Under this grant, ATBEF is providing information to men and women of childbearing age in at least 20 localities that do not have facilities that offer information on family planning and issues of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS such as: contraceptive methods, the dangers of frequent pregnancies, fibroids, and the importance of antenatal care or integrated treatment. ATBEF also offers quality services in gynecology, prenatal care and primary care.
Using the mobile clinic services approach is ATBEF's strategy for improving the health status of populations in hard to reach areas and addressing their sexual and reproductive health needs. Since the mobile clinic's introduction in 2010, ATBEF has covered a number of villages in the Maritime region that otherwise would not have had access to reproductive health services.