Making a Difference in the Lives of Mothers and Babies in Uganda

Affordable. Applicable. Simple. This is how Dr. Jesca Nsungwa Sabiiti, Assistant Commissioner for Child Health with Uganda’s Ministry of Health, described the models for maternal and newborn health care introduced by USAID’s Health Care Improvement (HCI) project in Uganda.

Through HCI, URC supported the development of a national QI strategy to guide the implementation and institutionalization of quality improvement in the health sector.

One of the activities stimulated by the strategy was a collaborative improvement activity that empowered the community to develop its own solutions and contributed to safer intra-partum and postpartum care within Uganda’s Masaka and Luwero districts.

Quality improvement teams at both the health facility and community levels enabled implementation of evidence-based interventions through capacity building; improvement efforts; and the provision of essential commodities, supplies, tools, and equipment. The improvement work included:

  • A pre-intervention assessment;
  • Training for facility and community members in essential newborn care, safe delivery, postnatal care, and resuscitation and improvement concepts;
  • On-site coaching to support facility and community improvement teams;
  • Monthly coaches’ meetings to share changes tested and their results; and 
  • Semi-annual learning sessions to enhance the sharing and spread of good practices.

Improvements save lives

Working at the community level, village health teams increased mothers’ knowledge of newborn danger signs—19 newborns were rushed to health facilities for treatment because mothers knew the signs and could call on the village health teams for help.

Thanks to training in newborn resuscitation skills and availability of resuscitation equipment, the number of newborns delivered that needed and received resuscitation rose from 2 percent (3/122) in July 2011 to 100 percent (45/45) in December 2012. Of those 45, 42 left the hospital with their family to start their journey through life. That’s a 93 percent success rate, overall.

Affordable. Applicable. Simple.

And effective.



August 29, 2014
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