From evaluating a Skilled Care Initiative in rural Burkina Faso to policy implications for safe motherhood in Africa.
Evaluation findings from a particular setting need to be generalized into policy implications if they are to find widespread use. Skilled attendance at delivery is widely regarded as one of the most important intervention strategies for safe motherhood in low-resource settings, particularly in Africa, but implementations of such strategies are often not rigorously evaluated or interpreted into future policy. Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment (Immpact) has applied a package of research-based monitoring and evaluation tools to assess the Family Care International Skilled Care Initiative in Ouargaye District, Burkina Faso. This evaluation research aimed to generate reliable, evidence-based policies for accelerating safe motherhood programmes in Burkina Faso and elsewhere in Africa. Five policy priorities were identified as representing real chances of improving the safety of motherhood: (1) enhancing national coverage of delivery by professionally skilled attendants; (2) to provide a network of 24-h basic emergency obstetric care within 5 km; (3) to have an effective referral system, equipped and resourced to undertake a reasonable number of Caesarean sections; (4) to promote community mobilization activities as a lever to increasing delivery care utilization; and (5) to implement strategies to remove financial barriers to delivery care. To meet Millennium Development Goal five by 2015, both supply and demand side constraints on the provision of quality maternity care have to be addressed, which in turn need greater political commitment and funding.
Tropical Medicine and International Health, Vol. 13, Suppl. 1, 68-72 [doi:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2008.02089.x]