On May 4, the FHS Uganda team attended the monthly meeting of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) cluster at the Ministry of Health in Kampala.
These meetings bring together both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in the area of maternal and child health to discuss issues ranging from policy influence and research uptake to ongoing or planned studies on MCH.
According to the FHS Uganda team leader Dr Elizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho, "the monthly MCH meetings offer an opportunity for us to share our findings and if possible get buy in from these stakeholders."
At the May 4 meeting, Dr Peter Waiswa briefed stakeholders about five MCH studies that have been or are being conducted by the Makerere University School of Public Health. FHS Uganda team members are involved in four of these studies.
Speaking after his presentation, Dr Waiswa said the team now plans to share detailed findings from the finished studies and work with stakeholders under the MCH cluster on how to influence policy and uptake of the research findings.
About the Projects
Safe Deliveries Study: Now in it's concluding phase, the project was conducted in three eastern Uganda districts of Kamuli, Buyende, Pallisa and Kibuku with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Department. Using a a quasi-experimental design, this intervention study comprised both demand- (vouchers for transport and maternal services) and supply-side initiatives (training health workers and provision of essential equipment, drugs and supplies) to improve access to health facility deliveries. The project led to increased uptake of antenatal, delivery and postnatal services. It created earnings for transporters, motivated health workers and improved availability of medical supplies. It also increased community awareness about maternal health and gained active support from the community leaders.
MANIFEST: Also known as the Maternal and Neonatal Implementation for Equitable Systems study, this is a research project in which the Makerere University School of Public Health plans to partner with Save the Children Uganda to scale up and test community based facility linked interventions aimed at improving maternal and newborn health outcomes in six health sub-districts (HSDs) in three districts (Pallisa, Kibuku and Kamuli) in eastern Uganda. We plan to facilitate rural, disadvantaged households in three districts in Eastern Uganda to access quality health care during pregnancy, birth and in the high risk days after birth, as well as prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS and family planning services. Analysis of data from the recently concluded community dialogues is ongoing and will be followed by the designing the implementation plan.
MANEST: Using experiences gained from two pilot intervention studies (the Safe Deliveries Study and the Uganda Newborn Study) in rural Uganda, the Maternal and Newborn Study (MANEST) is an intervention aimed at linking facilities and communities for improved access to ANC (antenatal care), prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, delivery care, postnatal care, and care of sick newborn babies within the existing health system. Formative studies were completed and designing the implementation is set to begin.
Uganda Newborn Study: UNEST was a four-year (December 2007 to December 2011) project aimed at finding ways of improving newborn health and survival in Uganda through a community-based intervention linked to health facilities. Carried out within the areas covered by the Iganga/Mayuge Demographic Surveillance Site, UNEST was a collaboration involving the Makerere University School of Public Health and Karolinska Institutet of Sweden with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through Save the Children, which also provided technical support to the research team. The study registered improvements in health facility deliveries, birth preparedness and demonstrated the cost effectiveness of using community health workers.
EQUIP (Expanded Quality Management Using Information Power) is an ongoing innovative intervention in Mayuge and Namayingo districts of eastern Uganda to improve maternal and new-born health with an expanded health system quality management approach that links communities and facilities using locally generated data. The key intervention is using Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles at community, health facility and district level powered by information from continuous community and health facility surveys, with results presented in audience-specific report cards.