Maternal health

In her keynote address, Marleen Temmerman provided a detailed overview of the Challenges and Priorities in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH). While MNCH is an area in which substantial progress has been made over the past years – the reduction of maternal and child mortality has been so substantial that we can envision to end ALL preventable deaths – challenges remain and new priorities emerge: MNCH of adolescent and young people, stillbirths and preterm births, the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, cancers and mental health and nutrition and environmental risk factors. Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of implementation research that studies what, why, and how interventions work in “real world” settings and to test approaches to improve them.

This challenge was immediately taken up by Elsbet Lodenstein. She presented a study on the contribution of social accountability, whereby citizens monitor health services and express their complaints. Based on 51 interviews with nurses and clinicians, she found that spouses, family members and co-workers are usually not associated with social accountability but provide a hidden  form of moral pressure on health workers to respect social and professional norms such as punctuality and friendliness. This study shows that complaints of women do reach health workers through indirect channels. Informal feedback and accountability relations seem to be able to locally regulate interpersonal behaviour around normal facility-based deliveries. 

A study presented by Jitendra Gouda revealed on quality of maternal health care that women from poor socio-economic backgrounds are deprived of respectful maternity care. This pattern is observed across the health facilities selected for this study. Nevertheless, the corresponding figure is higher in government facilities – which incidentally remain the main service provider for all the maternal healthcare services especially for women from poor socio-economic backgrounds. Private and Public-Private Partnership facilities found to have provided more respectful maternity care than the public facilities. Finally, Ratih Wirapuspita Wisnuwardani presented the results of a qualitative study on cultural beliefs and practices related to antenatal, delivery and postnatal care in the Dayak Agabag Community in Indonesia.



Presentation by Marleen Temmerman




Presentation by Jitendra Gouda