The Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project – led by Abt Associates – is USAID's flagship initiative in private sector health. SHOPS has partnered with non-governmental organizations and for-profit entities since 2009 to address the many health needs of people living in the developing world.
SHOPS has focused on increasing availability, improving quality, and expanding coverage of essential health products and services in family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, and HIV and AIDS, working in over 30 countries across SSA, Asia and LAC.
“SHOPS, through partnerships and innovations such as the HANSHEP Health Enterprise Fund, has helped improve the capacity of thousands of private sector health providers and programs and the health and well-being of many hundreds of thousands of people,” said Susan Mitchell, SHOPS project director and vice president for International Health at Abt Associates.
Providing Youth with Family Planning Services in Nigeria
Family planning in Nigeria is vital to improving the lives of women, children, and families. Only 11 percent of women are using a modern method of contraception, and this percentage drops to 10 among married women. In Lagos State – where the contraceptive prevalence rate is one of the highest in the country – it is still a relatively modest 26 percent.
Private health care providers such as Stephen O. Jayeoba, a nurse and owner of Holyfield Nursing Home, deliver 60 percent of modern contraceptives in Nigeria. Jayeoba, who has a strong desire to improve his knowledge of family planning and counseling services, recently participated in the SHOPS training courses on family planning counseling and clinical skills. The Holyfield Nursing Home is located in a very low-income suburb of Lagos.
Prior to taking the courses, Jayeoba had offered IUDs and short-acting methods of family planning, but not implants. Now he offers implants, which are very popular among his clientele because they have fewer side effects than injectables, the most popular modern method in Nigeria.
Premature Twins Saved by Proper Referral
Maria Anyango had been receiving care at an antenatal clinic in the Baba Dogo slum of Nairobi, Kenya when hypertension caused her to go into labor three months early. The clinic she visited was unequipped to handle the complications that arose, so they referred Anyango to Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital through its Mother and Child Referral Network. Anyango now is the proud mother of healthy twins, who were monitored at Ruaraka’s Newborn Care Unit.
The hospital developed the referral network to increase access to complex maternal and child health care for the poor with support from the HANSHEP Health Enterprise Fund, implemented by the SHOPS project. The network comprises five private maternity clinics located within Nairobi’s informal settlements. By ensuring that reliable, quality services are available, Ruaraka is attracting patients to these facilities, and then working to improve referrals, particularly for cases requiring emergency obstetric care. The fund also provides technical assistance to support these efforts, including training referral network staff on newborn care.
Read more about Anyango’s experience and about SHOPS’ work in maternal and child health.
Training Nurses to Provide HIV Treatment
The SHOPS project, in partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and the USAID Tunajali project, conducted Tanzania’s first national antiretroviral treatment (ART) training focused on nurse prescribers. The training, held from April 26 to May 2, was conducted in the Iringa and Njombe districts, which have a high HIV prevalence and lack physicians available to meet the demand for HIV care.
The team trained more than 30 experienced nurses to prescribe and deliver the full spectrum of ART services and paired the nurses with nearby physician mentors who will provide ongoing education and support. The training also served as a pilot for the National AIDS Control Programme’s new national ART training curriculum, which will be expanded across the country.
A shortage of clinical staff is one of the key challenges in providing quality HIV and AIDS services in Tanzania, and the Ministry of Health has acknowledged the need to involve nurses more in addressing key public health needs. SHOPS also partnered with the Tanzanian Nursing and Midwifery Council to develop the first scope of practice for nurses and midwives, which expanded the role of nurses to include prescribing and dispensing of ART treatment.
Read more about the nurses training in Tanzania and SHOPS’ work in HIV and AIDS
The SHOPS project, in partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and the USAID Tunajali project, conducted Tanzania’s first national antiretroviral treatment (ART) training focused on nurse prescribers from April 26 to May 2.
Earning Income by Providing Health Supplies in India
As a village health champion, Kamla Devi provides health commodities to her community through SHOPS’ eChoupal Rural Health Initiative in India. SHOPS is a facilitator in this initiative, which is designed to address the lack of access to quality health information and products in rural India.
Devi’s work is rewarding and her earnings mean a lot to her family, she said. She procures health products from ITC, a local distributor, at wholesale prices, and sells them directly to consumers at retail prices, earning a commission from the sales.
Initially, Devi was tentative about her participation in the program. However, once products sales started, and she began to count her earnings, Devi realized its impact on her family and community. Devi’s top sellers are pregnancy test kits, sanitary napkins, and oral contraceptives.
“I don’t feel challenged any more. I earn and can contribute if there is a need. I am investing in the future of my children,” she said.
Read more about Devi’s business and about SHOPS’ work in family planning and reproductive health.
Devi earns income by selling health commodities through SHOPS’ eChoupal Rural Health Initiative in India.