This course will review challenges for maternal and newborn health in the developing world, where a great many women and babies are suffering from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and the days following birth. Themes covered include the epidemiology of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, relevant issues for the global health workforce, community-based interventions to improve maternal and newborn health and survival, and sociocultural dynamics surrounding birth.
This course provides a broad overview of maternal and newborn health issues facing low-income and transitional countries, where more than 2.6 million babies are stillborn and nearly 500,000 women die during childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications each year. In the developing world, many women deliver at home without a skilled care provider, drugs, or technological supports. Maternal and newborn survival can be improved by mobilizing communities and improving access to skilled care.
Through lectures, case studies and readings, course participants will learn about delivery challenges for maternal and newborn health services and how to utilize community-based strategies to improve the health and survival of mothers and babies.
Introduction to Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in the Global Context
-Welcome to Module 1! This course will discuss the global health implications of pregnancy and childbirth in the developing world, where far too many women and babies die from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and soon after childbirth. Themes covered in this module include an introduction to maternal care, an in-depth look at the numbers, and a look at maternal mortality and morbidity in a global context.
Introduction to Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in the U.S. Context
-In this module you’ll visit the United States where, believe it or not, maternal mortality rate is actually on the rise! In fact, maternal mortality has doubled in the U.S. during the last two decades. Why is that? And what can be done to reverse this trend? Along the way you’ll meet a physician and her patient who will help us answer some of these questions.
The Impact of the Health Care Workforce Shortage
-In this module we’ll be discussing the critical importance of having an adequate and well-trained health workforce for reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. We’ll be discussing the problems of shortage and maldistribution, as well as some important strategies for addressing these problems such as task shifting and task sharing.
Emergency Obstetric Care & Health Facility Services
-In this module, we will learn about a globally recognized package of such interventions called emergency obstetric care, or EmOC. We will spend some time learning about how emergency obstetric care is assessed and monitored at the national and sub-national levels, including quality improvement measures. Lastly, we will consider some key challenges and potential solutions in developing country contexts.
Improving Maternal Care through Community-Based Interventions
-This module will take a new turn - how ordinary citizens can be mobilized to effectively take action to improve health for mothers and babies. You will learn about participatory learning and action. You will learn what research studies have to say about the effectiveness of this kind of approach. Also, you will get a chance to see specific examples of the outcomes of community mobilization in two settings, one in Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S., and one in the Caribbean country on the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic.
Case Study in Ethiopia: Educating the Community and Training Front-Line Community Health Workers
-Welcome to the last module! In this module, you will receive an overview of the Maternal and Newborn Health in Ethiopia Partnership (referred to as MaNHEP). Also, you will learn about the Ethiopian context regarding maternal health; the overall goal of the MaNHEP project and its key partners and supports; where the project was situated within Ethiopia; the assumptions that serve as the basis for the project’s intervention; the project evaluation; and a summary of results. Finally, we will take a step back to examine the strengths of the project and its potential for scale-up and possible application elsewhere.