Maternal and newborn deaths are intertwined. When a mother dies, her newborn is 10 times more likely to die. While progress has been made in reducing maternal and newborn deaths, these rates remain unnecessarily high. Women and newborns need a functioning healthcare system to stay alive.
The Saving Mothers, Giving Life Model
- Employs a health systems approach to ensure every pregnant woman has access to clean, safe childbirth services, including emergency care within two hours
- Strengthens the existing health network in each district to address major barriers to high-quality, facility-based care
- Facilities are well-equipped, -supplied, and -managed
- System regularly collects, analyzes, and uses data for decision-making and advocacy
- Women, families, and communities are actively engaged and empowered to plan for and manage access to health services
- Focuses on the most vulnerable period for women and newborns: labor, delivery, and the first 48 hours after childbirth
- Integrates maternal/newborn healthcare with HIV and family planning services
This five-year Initiative aims to accelerate reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. Key partners include the governments of Uganda, Zambia, the United States and Norway as well as Merck for Mothers, Every Mother Counts, Project C.U.R.E. and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The Three Delays
In their roles as VHTs, Maama Ambassadors, SMAGs and “Change Champions,” local community members have contributed to elevating the importance of and generating demand for facility-based MNH services among women, their male partners and family members.
- Registering local households with pregnant women and conducting follow-up visits to ensure healthy progression of pregnancy
- Raising awareness of the value of facility-based MNH services through the use of behavior change communications activities like musical performances and other events
- Educating pregnant women, their male partners and family members about the importance of budgeting for maternal health services and knowing the danger signs during pregnancy, childbirth and for newborns
- Distributing pregnancy care planners with information on birth planning, transportation, antenatal care, danger signs and nutrition during pregnancy
SMGL has enlisted the support of local community members in Uganda and Zambia to ensure that women reach facility-based maternity services in a safe and timely manner.
- Selling vouchers to women to cover transportation for a facility-based delivery and a referral if a complication should arise
- Leveraging preexisting local transportation networks in remote areas to transport women to nearby facilities for antenatal, childbirth and emergency care
- Participating in the development of financially sustainable, community-based maternity waiting home models — places where women can stay in the late stages of pregnancy so they are closer to care
The local community in SMGL districts in Uganda and Zambia have played an integral role in incentivizing health providers to come to rural areas to practice. Activities included:
- Communities have mobilized to contribute funding and labor for the construction of staff housing