Every child has the right to be registered and have a healthy start to life, no matter where they live. This is what unites IKEA Foundation, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, District Health Team in Uganda and Shifo Foundation from three continents - Asia, Africa and Europe - together.
In the beginning of 2013, the Shifo team began discussions with the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) about the possibility of jointly strengthening child health service delivery in Afghanistan. In March 2013, a team from Shifo was invited to SCA's Kabul Management Office to learn about the health system in Afghanistan, the progress and challenges faced.
From September 2015 we have started mutual collaboration to strengthen child health services in Afghanistan and Uganda in the framework of Every Child Counts-MyChild system in Afghanistan and Uganda Programme.
Our work and experience in Uganda, where we implemented MyChild system in Mukono and Wakiso Districts is instrumental to share with our colleagues in Afghanistan and work together to reach every child with life saving health services in both countries - Afghanistan and Uganda.
Our partner - SCA has a longstanding history of working in Afghanistan since 1982. The challenging environment has developed SCA into a systematic and agile organisation. They contribute to the structural development of educational and health service delivery processes in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, which provides a solid foundation for implementation of MyChild System and its support structures in the country.
The team found that Afghanistan had achieved considerable improvements in health service delivery within a challenging period of 13 years, and had developed clear structures to increase access and improve quality of health services. However, the challenge remained to reach every person with essential health services. The under-five mortality rate in Afghanistan is high - 91 per 1000 live births, and 60% of children aged 12 to 23 months are not fully immunised. Child malnutrition is also a significant contributor to child mortality with high prevalence of chronic malnutrition among 39% of all children under the age of 5. Shifo will work together with SCA to address the challenges that are preventing us from ensuring that every child is fully immunised and receives essential health services in order to grow strong and healthy.
In the beginning of November the partners met in Stockholm to plan strategic activities for the next coming three years together. "We are very happy to work with Shifo on the same objectives, for our organisations share similar values. The innovative thinking and approach in this work brings us together to improve the livelihoods for children in Afghanistan. Our starting point is Laghman Province, where SCA has worked since 2009 implementing Basic Package of Health Services", says Humayon Safi, Health Programme Manager, SCA.
“The IKEA Foundation believes every child has the right to a healthy start in life, so we are supporting Shifo with a €1.2 million grant to make this right a reality for thousands of vulnerable children in Uganda and Afghanistan”, says Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Strategic Planning and Communications.
Shifo's work in Afghanistan is directed to identifying and closing gaps in child health service delivery. "We want to be part of long-term development in Afghanistan. For us it means addressing the root causes of problems in child health and working with our partners to build a strong foundation to continuously improve the quality of health services", says Rustam Nabiev, Director of Shifo Foundation.
About Every Child Counts - MyChild system in Afghanistan and Uganda Programme
Shifo has created MyChild system, which helps frontline healthcare workers in resource constrained countries register newborns and keep track of essential vaccines and other health-related information for children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Since the data entry is done during health service delivery, necessary reports to the District Health Office and Ministry of Health is automatically generated by the system, freeing up the time of frontline health workers from burden of administration and report generation. This facilitates health workers to spend more time with families and children providing quality health services. Every Child Counts Reports, generated by MyChild system and sent to the decision makers along the healthcare chain, empower decision makers to close the actual gaps in child health service delivery based on reliable and timely information, thereby strengthening the continuous quality improvement process in health sectors to benefit the children living today and generations to come.
In the framework of this programme, supported by IKEA Foundation, MyChild system will be implemented in Afghanistan and a solution for health centres lacking electricity and network will be piloted in Uganda to connect every health centre providing child health services. Nearly 10,000 children and 5,000 pregnant women will be registered and followed up to ensure they are protected from preventable diseases, thanks to MyChild system ensuring they get the right vaccines and preventive healthcare at the right time.
About the IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) has been working in Afghanistan since 1982. The work encompasses programmes for education, health, support to persons with disabilities and rural development. SCA has about 5300 employees, of whom 99% are Afghans. SCA’s main target group is the rural population, specifically women, girls and people with disability. The Afghanistan management office is situated in Kabul, while operations are carried out in 14 provinces from five Regional Management offices and three field liaison offices. SCA is responsible for the implementation of Basic Package of Health Service Delivery (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) in two provinces: Wardak and Laghman. In addition to BPHS/EPHS, SCA implements school health, learning for healthy life, community midwifery education, and community nursing education projects in Laghman, Wardak and Samangan Province of Afghanistan.