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.

Evaluation of an Intervention to Improve Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care Access and Quality in Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Despite improvements in health-care utilization, disadvantages persist among rural, less educated, and indigenous populations in Ecuador. The United States Agency for International Development-funded Cotopaxi Project created a provincial-...

Helping Babies Breathe 2nd Edition

The Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) Global Development Alliance (GDA) was established in 2010 with the goal of achieving a significant reduction in neonatal morbidity and mortality through strengthening the performance of providers who...

Gender integration in quality improvement: Increasing access to health services for women in rural Mali

Anemia is one of the leading contributors to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity in Mali. The causes of anemia are many and complex, but are influenced by social norms and cultural beliefs as well as lack of access to health and...

Assessment of the quality of basic resuscitation services in Uganda

To guide future efforts to reduce preventable newborn mortality and stillbirth in Uganda, the USAID ASSIST Project carried out an assessment of the quality of newborn resuscitation services as part of integrated newborn care in 26 health...

Evaluation of Thematic Change Package in Six States of India

This short report describes the findings of a qualitative evaluation of a booklet developed by ASSIST in India based on successful changes to improve maternal and newborn care introduced by facilities in six states of India. The...

Responding to gender issues to improve outcomes in nutrition assessment, counseling, and support services

Nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) is an approach to integrate evidence-based nutrition interventions into health services, including the prevention, categorization, and treatment of malnutrition and sustained improved...

Improving Quality of Post-Partum Family Planning in Low-Resource Settings

Postpartum Family Planning (PPFP) aims to prevent the high risk of unintended and closely spaced pregnancies during the first year following childbirth. It is one of the highest impact interventions to avoid increased risk of premature...

Botswana Maternal Mortality Reduction Initiative: Final Report

Botswana has made tremendous progress in the reduction of maternal mortality since 1990. At that point, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the country was 360 per 100,000 live births. This rate remained high for the following 10 years,...

Scaling up a quality improvement initiative under the Government of India’s RMNCH+A program: Lessons from Chamba District

Praveen Sharma

Head of Programs, India, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

From December 2013, ASSIST’s India team started providing support for quality improvement (QI) initiatives to improve services at health facilities in Chamba District in Himachal Pradesh State. Within a few months, the district government saw good, sustained results from QI initiatives for the Government of India’s RMNCH+A program and with ASSIST’s support, the district government has been very active at all levels (facility, district, state) in scaling up QI.

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