The second stage of Unala – the private sector-led sexual and reproductive health services model for youth implemented by UNFPA – was unveiled in Yogyakarta on Friday.
More than one year after the initial social franchising scheme was launched, Unala’s updated business model strategy has been designed to meet the needs of all young people in a way that increases profits for the private practitioners in a sustainable manner.
“The vision is for the Unala network to be perceived as a one-stop for client-friendly, affordable, quality SRH services for young people,” UNFPA Indonesia Representative Mr. Jose Ferraris explained to the room of prospective investors, funders and stakeholders.
“The project will reach unmarried and married young people. Unala will be seen as a youth-friendly facility for confidential and comfortable service and information access, including for choice and correct use of contraceptive methods, attention to reproductive health and inter-spousal communication.”
Yogyakarta was chosen as the site of the pilot project, since it is a province with a large proportion of young people – around 850,000 young people aged 15-29 years old – with many universities and a mix of rural and urban youth. It also has a vibrant private sector.
While Unala’s primary focus has been on unmarried young people of school age – including through school-based talks, social media and the use of the voucher mechanism by Unala doctors and youth workers – Unala will expand through its second strategy of recaching out to young married couples.
This will involve working with religious institutions, provincial/district health offices and the provincial National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN), who will play important roles in capturing this group of young married women and men with messages and services related to family planning, prenatal care, safe delivery, postnatal care and other reproductive health services, explained Mr. Ferraris.
An expanded portfolio of services will also be provided by Unala’s general practitioners, along with normal deliveries and antenatal and postnatal services delivered by Unala private practicing midwives (BPM). C-level hospitals will be engaged for emergency referral, not only for maternal care but a range of women’s health services including infertility and STI treatment.
HRH Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Mangkubumi, who led the initial launch of Unala in Yogyakarta in 2014, joined the event and emphasized in her opening address that she really wanted young people to be educated on how to take care of their bodies.
“I myself have kids and I would feel hurt about what the future holds for them if, for example, they are faced with overwhelming issues,” she explained. “But maybe we can come up with ideas to tackle these problems. We want to provide better services so that young people will come to a doctor before any serious health risks. I hope we can increase the number of Unala doctors.”
Prof. Siswanto Wilopo, Director of the Center for Reproductive Health from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Gadja Madah made a presentation on the importance of providing sexual and reproductive health information and services to young people, while UNFPA Indonesia’s National Programme Office for Youth and ASRH, Ms. Margaretha Sitanggang, provided an overview of the new business model.
“The needs of young married people are sometimes overlooked,” she said during her presentation. “This is the situation in some areas across Indonesia and we would like to be able to provide this group with a comprehensive reproductive health network.”
Following the launch of the new business model, UNFPA will work with the potential master franchisor to develop detailed plans for resource mobiliation and business expansion, which will go hand-in-hand with the identification and training of new doctors and midwives to meet the goals of the updated model.