Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

Hajira learned about exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding, and good nutrition practices at a Family Life School, an initiative supported by the USAID Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in East Central Uganda (RHITES-EC) Project. Photo credit: RHITES-EC/URC

Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

URC—as a leader, a partner, and a technical advisor—assists countries ensure that every woman, baby, and child has access to health care. URC is committed to high-impact maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) care.

We envision a world where healthy women deliver healthy babies, where both mother and child receive quality, respectful care from skilled and equipped health care workers.

URC’s proven quality health systems and health service delivery activities emphasize evidence-based solutions to improve health outcomes for mothers and their children. We work with policymakers, national health systems, facilities, community health workers, local leaders, and families to improve access to and quality of services. We assist governments to roll out international quality guidelines by supporting context-specific adaptations and strengthening government capacity to implement standards at all levels of health systems. And in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s Quality of Care Network, we unequivocally support the core values of quality, equity, and dignity in our work.

While maternal deaths worldwide declined by 44% between 1990 and 2015, approximately 800 women still die daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal health is closely linked to newborn survival, as vulnerabilities to illness can pass from mother to child. More than one-fourth of girls and women in Sub-Saharan Africa cannot access family planning (FP) services, leading to unplanned pregnancies and maternal mortality and morbidity.

Helping families

URC assists countries to ensure that every mother, baby, and child has access to quality health care.

To reduce preventable maternal and child death and help every mother and child thrive, URC and our partners support strengthening resilient health systems to improve integrated RMNCAH care across the lifecycle. URC builds institutional, community, and individual  capacity to develop and implement evidence-based interventions to improve the access to and quality of antenatal care, childbirth and postpartum care, reproductive health services, and nutrition services.

The Health Evaluation and Applied Research Development (HEARD) project leverages partnerships to lead implementation science research and evaluation activities. Work focuses on areas such as postpartum hemorrhage, respectful maternity care, violence against children, mental health and psychosocial support, and urban nutrition/WASH in countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The USAID Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in East Central Uganda Activity (RHITES-EC) supports district health systems strengthening to improve quality, accessibility, and responsiveness of care across the household-to-community-to-facility continuum. Family Life Schools and community-led hygiene and sanitation initiatives have driven improvements in breastfeeding practices and infant and young child feeding, while supporting districts to surpass a national target of 90% coverage for clean and safe latrines.

Lubaina Zainal, 26, breastfeeds her baby and receives regular DMPA injections as a means of birth spacing. Photo credit: Kenny Nodalo

The USAID Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Northern Uganda (RHITES-N, Acholi) Activity focuses on strengthening the health system to increase access to and use of quality health services. Project work with the DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDSfree, Mentored and Safe) partnership resulted in the proportion of adolescent girls experiencing sexual and other forms of gender-based violence decreasing from 49% at baseline to 19.5% and an HIV incidence rate well below the national rate.

The USAID Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for Health (BARMMHealth) project seeks to bolster the capacity of the MOH-BARMM in facilitating local health solutions in FP, adolescent and youth reproductive health, and maternal and child health, towards self-reliance and sustainability. In year one, 514 adolescent youth received information on responsible practice of sexuality, contraceptive options, and respect, 5,170 community health workers were provided with FP information, and services to address violence against women and children were created.