New inflatable tents widen family planning access in Madagascar

inflatable tent
03 Aug 2012 | Family planning
We're always striving for new ways to reach women who want our services in hard to reach locations. Our latest innovation is being put to use in Madagascar where our clinical outreach team has been using the new three room inflatable tents we devised with a tent supplier to meet the growing need for mobile facilities from which we can offer quality family planning services.

Clinical outreach is a core part of our work to bring sexual and reproductive health services to the world’s most under-served women. Outreach teams include health professionals and a trained 4x4 driver, who work in partnership with governments and local communities to offer regular services.

We often use government facilities to deliver long-acting and permanent methods of contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) to rural women.

Unfortunately, some of these facilities are small - with just one or two rooms - and aren’t best suited to offering an optimal client experience.

But the new inflatable tents mean that our clinical outreach team can offer family planning services to more women in a safe, clean and comfortable setting, wherever they are.

Inflatable tents are quicker to assemble than poled tents, with less risk of breaking and damage. They're easy to wash with soap and water, and lighter which makes them more suitable for transportation, fitting into the back of a 4x4 vehicle.

Nicole Raatgever, Country Director of Marie Stopes Madagascar, explains:

The tents allow us to work in more rural areas where a suitable building is not always available. It has three rooms - for counselling, procedures and recuperation. Installation is faster and easier, the tents are lighter and they come with a groundsheet.

When asked if the tents enabled her team to visit more rural areas and serve more underserved women, Nicole didn’t hesitate.

Yes - definitely - as we are no longer restricted by the availability of appropriate buildings.

The tents come with an inverter so inflating them from a car battery is simple and takes around 20 to 30 minutes.

The rooms are designed with the Marie Stopes International mini centre layout in mind, with a small room for consultations or changing prior to procedure, a procedure room, and a small recovery or storage room.

Looking ahead, we are working with the supplier and our team in Madagascar to improve the design to enable the tent to stay cooler and make it more comfortable in extremely hot locations. We are investigating if a convection chimney might help hot air to escape. While another option we're looking into is using solar powered fans.

Find out more about the tents or our other products

Read out more about our work in Madagascar

Learn more about clinical outreach


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