Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

Mother with baby

In the last 20 years, great strides have been made in reducing child and maternal deaths.  However, child and maternal deaths still remain unacceptably high. In 2013, 6.3 million children died before their fifth birthday, and even now some 800 women and girls die each day in the process of giving life, largely from preventable causes. Strengthening essential system functions to reliably deliver high quality, life-saving interventions for leading causes of maternal, newborn, and child mortality is a major part of USAID’s Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths (EPCMD) strategy. The USAID ASSIST Project supports the global EPCMD agenda by:

  • Testing and implementing innovative, cutting-edge quality improvement and service delivery approaches in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), such as collaborative improvement, process redesign, and integrating routine and complications care across system levels
  • Developing, testing, and disseminating technical frameworks, approaches, and tools that can increase the efficiency, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of health system strengthening and quality improvement initiatives in support of the USAID EPCMD strategy, including strategies to integrate gender considerations in care delivery
  • Building government and implementing partner capacity to apply improvement methods across health system levels (community, clinic, hospital, district, regional, central) to improve, scale up, and sustain high-impact, low-cost, people-centered MNCH and family planning (FP) services for leading causes of maternal newborn and child morbidity and mortality in USAID priority countries
  • Strengthening frontline health worker and manager skills, motivation, and performance through integrated clinical and quality improvement (QI) capacity building and through engagement of health workers in making improvements in their local health care systems and processes
  • Supporting the development and testing of MNCH quality of care indicators, strengthening routine health information systems to enable regular tracking of quality measures at service delivery level, and promoting accountability at global, national, and sub-national levels

Drawing on extensive experience support the planning, implementation and evaluation of MNCH improvement programs in different countries and regions, USAID ASSIST also contributes to global learning about gaps in care processes and how to best support health system functions to deliver high-impact, cost-effective MNCH services to decrease preventable maternal and child deaths.

What we learned while improving care for 180,000 babies annually in India

Nigel Livesley

Regional Director for South Asia, USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Health Systems (ASSIST) Project, University Research Co., LLC (URC)

Evaluation of a quality improvement intervention for obstetric and neonatal care in selected public health facilities across six states of India

In India, in recent years, there has been a great increase in the number of women delivering in health facilities; however, the quality of obstetric and neonatal care within these facilities is often quite poor, which contributes to...

Breastfeeding Seminar

Washington, DC

Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the Field

The TOPS Program, along with USAID Food for Peace, hosted a Breastfeeding Seminar that brought together those who provide technical assistance to USAID Food for Peace-funded programming in the field, along with other key stakeholders. Key objectives were to:

Fathers helping babies survive: A case study from Ganesh Das Hospital, Shillong, Meghalaya

The USAID ASSIST Project works in Meghalaya to improve the quality of newborn care at Ganesh Das Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals in the state. Of the 1,800 babies admitted to the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) of GDH each year, the...

Point of Care Quality Improvement (POCQI): Improving the Quality of Care for Mothers and Newborns in Health Facilities

“Point of Care Quality Improvement (POCQI): Improving the Quality of Care for Mothers and Newborns in Health Facilities” uses focused learning objectives, case studies, games and other activities to build the knowledge and skills of...

JOINT STATEMENT: Improving Quality of Maternal and Newborn Care in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

While major progress has been made over the past two decades to improve mortality outcomes in women and newborn – major disparities remain in survival rates around the time of birth for mothers and infants born in high-, middle- and low-...

A clear guide to improving care of mothers and babies in low-resource settings

By: Tamar Chitashvili, Silvia Holschneider, Jorge Hermida, and Nigel Livesley 

There is growing recognition that clinical training and health infrastructure — while essential—are insufficient for improving and sustaining life-saving maternal and newborn health care services in low-resource settings. Instead, broader systems strengthening and continuous quality improvement efforts at the service delivery level are needed to continuously assess gaps in processes and content of care and to plan, test, implement, regularly monitor, refine and institute changes to deliver services correctly and consistently. To respond to this need and help frontline care providers in their continuous quality improvement journey, “Improving Care for Mothers and Babies: A Guide for Improvement Teams” was recently developed through collaborative efforts of the Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance (S&T GDA).

VIDEO: Cost-effectiveness of an intervention to increase immunization coverage in Pakistan

This is a presentation of the results of a cost-effectiveness study to improve immunization uptake among children under 2 years of age and pregnant women in Sindh province in Pakistan. The study was commissioned by the health office at the...

Improving Care of Mothers and Babies: A guide for improvement teams

This guide describes a simple approach through which health care providers and improvement teams can plan, test, implement, continuously assess, refine, and sustain interventions to improve care of mothers and babies. The guide can be used...

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