Access to testing is essential to good healthcare, it can mean early detection and life-saving treatments. Though women comprise 70% of the global health workforce, many women & girls do not have adequate access to diagnostic tests and screenings – widening the gender gap even further in healthcare.
At My Doctor, we are deliberately creating programs targeted at ensuring a gender-equal approach. This kind of world requires women-centric solutions focused on ensuring equal access to care. We have drawn programs for creating access to free HIV testing in various communities. Also through our God Mother division, we are emphasizing access to maternity services from Antenatal, Childbirth, and Postpartum leveraging telemedicine (both voice and video calls). Our experience shows that voice calls are more effective as most women don’t have smartphones.
My Doctor’s ART Clinic did target testing for 827 HIV tests. Testing Females 316 and 509 Males. Despite the fact that Nansana is a densely populated area, with a bigger ratio of women to men, and higher spread risks of HIV to women, given the poverty rates among women and social challenges faced by women in the area, women are still slow at attending frequent HIV tests.
We had 5 outreaches in the 1st quarter of 2023. We carry out these activities with authorization from the Wakiso District Healthcare leadership and Mildmay.
Our outreach held at Big Zone Bar in Nansana targeted mainly sex workers and revelers. Here we tested 77 patient and found one positive case.
In March, we carried out four outreach activities at Kibogo Slam in Nansana and Tested 115 with positive 5 but 3 were re-testers. We also tested party-goers at Club Icon, Tenga washing bay in Nabweru, and Our Lady of Fatuma in Tuyanye.
Despite these numbers, the need for testing among the youth and women is fast growing, given our increasing activation, advocacy, and sensitization.
Much as these outreach activities are bearing a lot of fruit, we face some challenges are stated below.
- Mobilization of groups for testing is a bit challenging and costly, evolves a lot of publicity, and we use public address and coordination solutions.
- The majority of the Key Populations (People in our target) still request money or any extra incentive before they accept to be tested.
- Most Key Populations are available for testing in the very late hours i.e. after 10:00 pm which puts the life of medical workers at some risk.
- Limited Transport means limits the team to reach out to some distant and deep places which have Key Populations.
- Most people who come for HIV Testing keep requesting other free services like Family planning, syphilis screening, and Hepatitis B screening among others.
- In the peak months, we run short of some supplies, and yet the dates for supply are still far as per the JMS Supply Schedule.
We are offering high-quality voice communication, counseling, and education every day, as well as text messaging tips and reminders.
By providing women with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to have safe and healthy pregnancies and childbirth experiences. Our program has the potential to reduce healthcare costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth complications among many other benefits. By promoting maternal and infant health, this program can also contribute to increased workforce productivity and reduced healthcare costs in the long run.