Preparedness of the Urban Health Extension Program to provide priority health services identified in its packages
Background: The Urban Health Extension Program (UHEP) – an innovative Ethiopian government plan to ensure health service equity by creating demand for essential health services through the provision of appropriate health information at a household level – is one of the three approaches of the national Health Extension Program (HEP).The UHEP is organized to deliver services within 16 packages. This study is aimed at assessing the preparedness of the program to provide priority health services identified in its packages.
Methodology: The study covered sampled urban health extension facilities within five study regions, and included 26 facility assessments, and 330 urban health extension professionals’ (UHE-ps’) assessments.
Results: According to the findings of the facility assessment, most items within the UHEP packages are available, even though very few facilities were found to stock delivery kits, dressing materials, and oxytocin. Adrenaline was also observed to be found in only a limited number of facilities. Regarding teaching aids and services guidelines, most of the facilities had health education materials, Health Management Information System (HMIS) recording and reporting formats, family health services guidelines, disease prevention guidelines, family planning guidelines, and environmental health guidelines. All of the facilities observed seemed to have most of the services that are prioritized within the UHEP packages. The items less available include HIV testing and counseling guidelines, first aid kits, and infant weighing scales. A knowledge assessment through a test of 327 UHE-ps using questions based on the guideline manual showed a mean score of 76.2% (32 out of 42), with a minimum of 33.3% (10 out of 42) and maximum of 90.5% (38 out of 42). Considering the mean score (76.2%) as the passing grade, only 43% of the UHE-ps scored above the average. Questions on controlling communicable diseases and postnatal care (PNC) were items on which the UHE-ps scored highest.
Conclusions and Recommendations: The findings of the present survey show that there is an overall fair level of preparedness within the UHEP to provide the services identified within its various component packages. However, there are still a few services packages for which the UHE facilities do not seem to be well prepared. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2020; 34(Special issue 2):76-82]
Keywords: Preparedness; Urban Health Extension Program; Urban Health Extension Professionals.