Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maternal and new born health programme

I am currently working with colleagues from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the National Health Service in the North West of England and a technology consultancy company called Our Mobile Health. We are designing a comprehensive programme to address the very poor progress being made to achieve MDGs 4 and 5. Our focus is on 3 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I have to say, the realities of trying to create something 'comprehensive' are mind-boggling. No wonder most people prefer to work on limited interventions to test their impact. But we believe that individual interventions are inadequate unless they form part of wider plan of service improvement.

In this programme we are going to draw from community mobilisation methodologies, mhealth tools, clinical training, health facility upgrades, and hopefully achieve the ultimate goal of establishing community based skilled birth attendants. A health financing solution will be important to make sure that health facilities do not continue to impose patient fees. That holds back many women from coming for their deliveries, particularly when the culture around them assumes that home is the best place to give birth.

Our programme will incorporate many of the features of AHN's work in the past couple of years. The partnership has a range of skills and capacities to bring to the programme. AHN is facilitating the involvement of Anglican agencies so that they can offer the best of their expertise.

Improvement in maternal and new born health services will not come easily or cheaply. It would be good to hear from others about their efforts in this field. Please add your comments below so we can build up a wider picture of what is going on amongst Anglicans in different parts of the world. We have much to learn from one another and an opportunity to work more closely together.


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