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Malawi trial saves newborn lives
Date:6/26/2013

fy pregnant women, especially those at high risk, and encourage them to seek prenatal check-ups and go to a health facility for delivery, then for a postnatal check after seven days.

"The task forces bridge the gap between the community and the facilities," says Dr. Barker. "This is an exciting innovation. We haven't seen anything like this before communities are now able to support pregnant mothers and support safer practices to prevent maternal and newborn deaths."

A number of challenges

This project faced many obstacles, among them were:

  • When the programme started, no qualified and experienced local group existed to work with the consortium partners. The new group, MaiKhanda, had to be built and staffed from scratch and its members trained for community mobilisation, quality improvement and evaluation.
  • Because of cultural taboos about sex and pregnancy, the programme had trouble reaching the young women who might benefit most, especially those who were newly pregnant or had never had a child.
  • Quality improvement efforts were hampered by staff shortages and high turnover rates at health facilities.
  • Staff worked in under resourced health facilities where essential drugs and other provisions were usually in short supply.

Planning for the future

Though the formal trial has ended, The Health Foundation is funding the programme for three more years to help MaiKhanda "embed" the approach into the Malawi health system, and to strengthen the partnership that has been developed with Malawi's Ministry of Health.

Over the next three years, MaiKhanda intends to establish itself firmly as a leading advocate for maternal and neonatal health in Malawi and to work closely with the officials and staff at the Ministry of Health as it scales up the programme.

"We have learned a lot over the last five years," says Mr. Msukwa. "Now we have to focus on what worked, impro
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Contact: Marshall Hoffman
marshall@hoffmanpr.com
703-533-3535
Hoffman & Hoffman Worldwide
Source:Eurekalert

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