RFPD has been active in improving maternal and child health for more than 15 years now and therefore has to offer extensive experience and expertise in this area of focus. With the advent of Rotary’s Future Vision Plan, leading to a closer collaboration between Rotary International (RI)/ The Rotary Foundation (TRF) and Action Groups, RFPD became a resource for the Future Vision area of focus ‘Maternal and Child Health’.
RFPD's Maternal & Newborn Health model
In an innovative comprehensive approach to reduce maternal and newborn mortality we improved the quality of care in the rural areas of Kano and Kaduna State by introducing a system of quality assurance in obstetrics in ten selected hospitals. By improving the quality of structure (e.g. providing necessary equipment to the hospitals) and the quality of process (e.g. training of health personnel) maternal mortality in those hospitals was reduced by more than 50% and fetal mortality by more than 15% (quality of outcome). The approach is sustainable – a further reduction of 10% was achieved within nine months after the termination of the project – and suitable for scaling up, i.e. transfer to and use in other regions and countries. You can find a detailed overview about the pilot project HERE. The methodology for the system of quality assurance in obstetrics (centerpiece of the model) can be found HERE.
Why investing in maternal health is so important
Maternal health is a vital component of healthy societies, economies and nations:
- Women are the sole income-earners in nearly 1/3 of all households globally and comprise 70% of agricultural workers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Women's unpaid work, including farming, managing homes and caring for family members equals approximately 1/3 of the world's Gross National Product (GNP).
- Maternal-care interventions are proven to be both effective in reducing maternal death and cost-effective. Some of these interventions are cost-saving, yielding returns of investment of over 100%.
- Smart investments in maternal health strengthen health systems overall, and increase the cost-effectiveness of resources allocated to the health sector. Failure to invest in maternal health is not only irresponsible and immoral but also deeply counterproductive, undermining national growth and development.
- Pregnancy-related deaths of women and newborns cost about $15 billion in lost productivity annually. These deaths and economic losses are nearly 100% preventable.
Source: African Progress Panel
More maternal and child health projects by RFPD
RFPD initiates and supports projects all over the world that improve maternal and child health including family planning services, advocate for women empowerment e.g. through vocational / literacy training and micro credits, and target diseases such as HIV/AIDS. To find out more about these projects, CLICK HERE. You can also download a list of current RFPD supported projects (as of 2009/2010) HERE.