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Impact of Ebola on maternal and newborn health services in Sierra Leone

Research exploring the impact of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak on the availability, uptake of and demand for essential maternal and new-born health services in Sierra Leone (full epidemic) and in Nigeria (isolated cases only). The project is being jointly conducted by CMNH and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

This mixed methods operational research project compares disease and disease-free locations. It builds on an existing monitoring and evaluation framework and data collected by the CMNH–LSTM in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, which covered 198 healthcare facilities (HCFs) under the current maternal and newborn health (MNH) intervention programme.

Surveillance and routine data collection systems will be used to document the numbers of women attending HCFs for essential MNH services, to assess the effect (or not) of Ebola outbreak on
the trend in availability and uptake of services.

Qualitative methods will be used to explore the perspectives and experience of managers, administrators and supervisors of HCFs, healthcare professionals (HCPs) who provide MNH services and women who receive. The study will generate:

  • a trend analysis in availability and uptake of essential MNH services in an outbreak mature stage country (SL) and in an early stage country (Nigeria);
  • b) an assessment of the factors that influence availability and uptake of essential MNH services, through the perceptions and experiences of HS managers, HCPs, women and other members of the community.

The bottlenecks analysis performed will highlight the current strengths and weaknesses within MNH services; this will be used to develop focused solutions to make best use of available resources within the context of an evolving outbreak. A preparedness and rapid intervention plan to improve the responsiveness of the health systen to MNH care will be developed.