The overall objective of the project is ‘to contribute to the improvement of infant and maternal health in Sierra Leone in support of MDG 4 on child health and MDG 5 on maternal health.’ This will be achieved by working closely with NSAs and LAs in Northern Bombali to improve access to Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care (CEmOC), skilled attendance at birth, emergency referral services and by providing maternal and newborn health education.
The project will complement the Free Health Care Initiative (FHC-I), by simultaneously improving the quality of free Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services and raising awareness at community level of key maternal and infant health messages.
The project will work closely with district authorities and community actors to strengthen mechanisms for community involvement in providing a continuum of care from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum to newborn care The proposed action supports and reinforces national level initiatives for improving levels of maternal and child health in line with Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5.
At the health facility level, the project will contribute to achieving Basic Package of Essential Health Services (BEPHS), the recommended Basic Emergency Obstetric Care (BEmOC) standard in two facilities and supporting the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (NHSSP) pledge to improve quality of health services.
This will be achieved by working directly with health workers to build their knowledge and skills and improving their work environment through the provision of essential equipment and infrastructure. This will be further reinforced by engaging with the District Council (DC) and District Health Management Team (DHMT) to improve the provision and coordination of district maternal and neonatal services. In addition, the project will actively engage with national, district and community decision makers in order to secure greater policy commitment to infant and neonatal health. This will subsequently contribute to the GoSL priority of reducing neonatal and maternal mortality as stipulated in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
The achievement of this objective will be measured by the following indicators;
- Reduction in infant mortality
- Reduction in maternal mortality
The specific objective of the action will be ‘to improve utilisation and quality of perinatal and maternal health services in Northern Bombali’. The emphasis of the proposed action will therefore be to create fully integrated and sustainable improvement in health service delivery and instigate community systems to enable the target population to access and utilise improved maternal and newborn health services, including emergency care.
The action aims to increase and improve the supply of MCH services by supporting the DHMT to strengthen the human resource and infrastructural capacity of health facilities, at both primary and secondary levels. Simultaneously, the project will support NSAs at community level to stimulate the demand for these newly improved services by creating sustainable accountability mechanisms, strengthening community structures and raising awareness at community level, with a particular focus on ensuring continuity of healthy behaviour outside health facilities.