Mapping the road to equity in maternal and newborn care

(The following is a case study on maternal and new born care published on the PATH website)

PATH rapidly investigated the coverage and impact of nine key health interventions across 81 countries. The data gathered will help pave the way toward health equity for mothers and their children.

Despite global progress, huge inequities remain in maternal, newborn, and child health.

The world already possesses the evidence-based interventions we need to close the gaps in health outcomes—oxytocin for postpartum hemorrhage, 7.1% chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care, kangaroo mother care for small infants (pictured), amoxicillin dispersible tablets for childhood pneumonia, and more.

So why aren’t these proven health interventions reaching every mother and child who needs them?

PATH investigated the coverage and impact of nine key health interventions across 81 countries, with a deep-dive in seven high-priority countries. The health interventions, called “assets,” include drugs, devices, and approaches to improving health. Our vast global network allows us to work quickly across sectors and borders to find solutions fast. We completed the first phase in just ten weeks.

The solution

Phase one—and the subject of this case study—was to rapidly assess the current state of those health interventions (assets) and build a body of data that could inform global, national, and local strategies for addressing inequities in maternal, child, and newborn health.

Our second step—currently underway—is to further analyze the dataidentify barriers and enablers to access, uptake, implementation, and coverage; and recommend strategies countries can use to accelerate progress toward equitable uptake, implementation, and coverage of each asset.

The assets: Nine key health interventions

These are the tried and true interventions that will help close the inequity gaps mothers, newborns, and children face.

Iron folic acid (IFA) to prevent maternal nutrient deficiencies, related birth defects, and low-birthweight babies
Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
Oxytocin or misoprostol for postpartum hemorrhage prevention and treatment

7.1% chlorhexidine (CHX) for umbilical cord care to prevent newborn infections
Kangaroo mother care to help low-birthweight newborns survive
Neonatal resuscitation equipment for newborns with breathing difficulties

Amoxicillin dispersible tablet (amoxicillin DT) for childhood pneumonia
Managing possible severe bacterial infection (PSBI) with antibiotics when hospitalization isn’t possible

The results

  1. Data exist but gaps remain. Despite limitations with data availability and consistency, we were able to identify more than 11,000 data points and create 14 interactive data dashboards to visualize where the interventions stood along the pathway to scale-up.
  2. Assets fall into one of three “types” based on common barriers and other characteristics. The benefit of these types is that they also share common implementation strategies (see Figure 2), allowing for increased efficiency and impact.

A similar approach was discussed in 2017 article on Healthcare India, where we looked at the measures taken by the state of Telangana in mother and child care.

For more details on this study please visit this link

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