Maternal, Newborn and Child Health 2017-11-10T18:22:37+00:00

A mother embraces her child while they wait to be seen at a medical clinic in Kenya, where IMA works to make maternal and child health services available seven days a week. Photo by Craig Thompson

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Women and children often suffer the deepest health impacts of poverty. IMA World Health programs engage pregnant women, mothers and children to support their health, growth and well-being.

In September 2016, a wave of violence led to mass population displacement in portions of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here, IMA World Health carries out the Access to Primary Health Care Project, or ASSP project, with funding from the U.K.’s Department for International Development. ASSP aims, in part, to reduce morbidity and mortality in women and children under 5. Despite health center closures and other service disruptions this year, IMA World Health and our partners achieved 102 percent of ASSP’s annual target for the number of births attended by skilled personnel at a health facility—continuing a trend of increase across five successive quarters.

Giving birth in a health facility with help from a skilled health professional is a critical factor in improving well-being for mothers and babies. Another is access to a variety of family planning methods that allow for healthy birth spacing.

Afya Jijini immunized 295,071 children under age 1—exceeding all USAID targets for measles, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) and pneumococcal vaccines.

Notably, ASSP also achieved 119 percent of the target for enrolling new acceptors in modern family planning methods this year, amounting to 342,410 people. In fact, the use of family planning services has remained above ASSP targets for more than two years, thanks to improvements in the supply chain system and management practices, continuous coaching of local health workers and ongoing community awareness-raising activities, particularly among men.

These successes demonstrate both the continued demand for services and the resiliency of the system to continue to provide in the midst of many severe challenges.

In Kenya, IMA World Health met or exceeded nearly all of the service delivery targets in its first year of implementing the Afya Jijini project for HIV; maternal, newborn and child health; reproductive health and family planning; water, sanitation and hygiene; and nutrition. This includes achieving 109 percent of the target for women attending at least four prenatal visits and all vaccination targets. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Afya Jijini, which means “health in the city,” is designed to improve Nairobi City County’s institutional and management capacity to deliver health services.

To accomplish project goals, IMA worked with Nairobi City County health officials to make maternal and child health services available seven days a week at 35 of the county’s busiest sites. As a result, nearly 30,000 women and children accessed critical services during weekend hours. Strategies to increase outcomes included engaging men to attend antenatal care visits and helping the county open three new maternities in areas that serve informal settlements.

Immunization against common childhood diseases is a cornerstone of child health interventions. This year, working with 439 facilities and their catchment areas, Afya Jijini immunized 295,071 children under age 1—exceeding all USAID targets for measles, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) and pneumococcal vaccines.

Shaping Global Vaccine Strategies

IMA World Health President and CEO Rick Santos chairswill serve as chair of the 2017–2018 Oversight Advisory Group for the Gavi CSO Constituency for Immunisation and Stronger Health Systems. The Oversight Advisory Group oversees three Gavi-funded projects to build national immunization platforms in 25 countries, and a regional West African Francophone platform.

Santos has served on the Gavi Civil Society Organizations Steering Committee for the past three years, including as vice-chair of the steering committee during the final year of his term. In his new role, Santos will continue to work with the steering committee and the larger constituency to support the mission of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Civil society organizations like IMA World Health play a crucial role in immunization, and in ending preventable maternal mortality and child deaths. IMA joins more than 3,000 CSOs worldwide in forming the Gavi CSO Constituency for Immunisation and Stronger Health Systems to advocate for increased access to immunization and health services.

“I am very proud to have three years representing faith-based CSOs and contributing to Gavi’s goal of reducing preventable childhood deaths through vaccinations. I strongly believe in Gavi’s mission and the role of civil society in achieving that mission.”
— IMA President and CEO Rick Santos