Improving Quality of Care: Health Supplies
In order to be maximally effective at helping people, healthcare providers need access to basic medications and supplies to diagnose and treat people. If a woman and her family decide to go to a health facility, make the journey to get there, and arrive to discover that the provider cannot treat her because they lack gloves or a certain medication or another important item, that family is not only likely to suffer grave health consequences then but also less likely to seek health care during their next medical emergencies. Moreover, SAFE's model is designed to increase the number of women and children who seek care; we feel it would be immoral to increase the burden placed on a healthcare facility without also increasing their capacity to treat those people.
SAFE addresses this aspect of the Third Delay by providing supplementary shipments of medications and supplies. Our goal is always to promote sustainability and self-sufficiency, so as much as possible, we provide low-cost improvements that can involve community members. For example, when women deliver they must provide the basic supplies needed for the delivery, such as gloves, a "covera" plastic covering that goes on top of the delivery table to keep things clean, a razor to cut the umbilical cord, and a cotton pad. SAFE and one of our community groups created a small business in which the community group made "mama kits" with all these supplies and sold them at the health facility at cost to women in the community.
When medications necessary for life-saving interventions are required--medications to prevent or stop bleeding during delivery, medications to stop seizures from high blood pressure, medications to treat severe malaria, and others--SAFE tried to assess the needs in partnership with community members and health providers, emphasizing partnership and engagement.
"There is something that can happen in a pregnant woman. You reach the hospital and they tell you, that that one has no medication. They ask for a lot of money. Yet in an actual sense, they know that the person is going to die."
--Family member of a deceased mother