By Eronie Kamukama
Experts in healthcare and Information Communication Technology have called upon innovators to create solutions that improve access, planning, availability and quality of sexual and reproductive health information and services.
“I want to urge us all to harness and make optimal use of innovations to find solutions to pressing sexual and reproductive health issues,” executive director National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), James Saaka, said recently during the launch of Up Accelerate.
The health-based innovation programme was organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Ugandan innovations hub, Outbox.
Saaka noted with optimism that the initiative will support the linkages between economic empowerment and reproductive health.
“This will provide us with valuable and effective solutions to improve maternal health indicators by addressing some of the bottlenecks regarding access to essential services and supplies,” Saaka said.
To support this move, government has pledged to aggressively work on availing more information on reproductive health.
The managing director Medical Concierge group, David Musinguzi, said innovators should understand which areas of the country are underserviced and start building on-demand services.
While significant strides have been made to improve healthcare service delivery, significant challenges in maternal healthcare such as delays in accessing health centre service points and receiving adequate healthcare continue to frustrate the country.
Institutional maternal death rates, according to Saaka, remain high at 118 deaths per 100,000 live births while only 58 per cent of women in Uganda give birth with the assistance of traditional birth attendants.
The one-year programme seeks to tap into networks of young entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions in sexual and reproductive health.
Eight youth-led innovations will be picked to join to acceleration programmes for training and mentorship. Four top innovators will receive funds worth Shs35.3m.