She has been visiting her local BlueStar clinic for advice about her pregnancy. BlueStar is a social franchise designed to improve access to quality maternal healthcare and family planning through a network of private clinics.
Elaine got to know the BlueStar midwife, Amezena, and says she wants to use the Blue Star clinic. “I am going to deliver my baby at BlueStar this time because I know Amezena (the midwife) will look after me”.
This local clinic offers a personal service, in a clean, well equipped and welcoming environment close to her home. It offers her the ability to have a safe delivery and in addition Elaine has been able to find out about her contraceptive options for after the birth.
Sadly, 94 women die per 100,000 live births in the Philippines and the country is one of the most off track to meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goal 5 for maternal health. Some women still give birth at home in the Philippines without healthcare support and Elaine has made this choice so she can reduce the risk of any potential complications.
Amezena Bourbon, joined BlueStar in 2008 and has built up a strong reputation in her area. People come from all over to see her and with the clinic based in converted rooms of her house, Amezena offers a 24 hour service for safe delivery, “after all, a baby won’t wait!”
The BlueStar network seeks to reach the underserved and help increase access to high quality, voluntary family planning, and reproductive healthcare. Prices for services are affordable and clinics have an informal sliding scale of costs to ensure no one is turned away. Amezena explains “It’s negotiable. If people don’t have enough money I give them an IOU. Sometimes people can’t pay at all and I give them free support. It is my job to help”.
An important part of the service for Elaine is the family planning advice and support she can receive at the clinic. She has seven siblings and knows what a struggle it can be to raise and provide for so many children.
Elaine wants to do things differently and has decided she only wants two children. Having concentrated on her first child and her marriage after graduating from high school, she is keen to start working when her second child is old enough.
If she wanted, Elaine could have an IUD for free as part of her maternal health package but after discussing the different types of family planning methods she has chosen the contraceptive injection.
Elaine is excited about the future. She is looking forward to the new addition to her family and the prospect of finding herself a job.
Population Services International Pilipinas Incorporated, Marie Stopes International’s country partner, launched BlueStar in 2008 and now has more than 200 BlueStar midwives working throughout the country. The programme also delivers family planning through 11 clinics and extensive outreach services, 758,470 clients were using contraception provided by the organisation.