Global Maternal Health Conference 2013

Within this session, speakers brought about new and innovative ways to think about emergency referral systems. While having the materials and being able to call for help are two main parts of the system, there are many other moving pieces to consider. Rahman began the session by describing a study in Bangladesh where rural and urban situations are handled in different manners, depending on the advocacy and transportation needs of the client. This included transporting rural patients to health centers and accompanying urban patients to one of the many health clinics in their area. Awoonor-Williams reported on his study in Ghana which aimed at learning the reasons for referrals amongst 12 health centers and 4 hospitals and found that reasons for referrals were: lack of key staff, unavailable definitive treatment, and problems in adherence to protocol. With recognition of these challenges, staff was able to increase the quality of the referral system. Bailey's work focused on strengthening the referral systems in 6 countries. Her group found that relationship building, strengthening of communication (both verbal and written and transversely between the clinics and hospitals), and finding better and more appropriate solutions for transfers were all factors in making systems stronger.

Moderator: Kate Ramsey, AMDD/Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Innovations in planning and implementation to strengthen emergency referral systems
Kate Ramsey, AMDD/Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Auditing obstetric and newborn referrals in Upper East, Ghana
Koku Awoonor-Williams, Ghana Health Service

Active management of referral—Lessons from Bangladesh
Mosiur Rahman, BRAC

District planning process for strengthening emergency referral services: A case study from rural Tanzania
Harun Machibya, Ifakara Health Institute
--Was not present at conference--

Planning for referral
Patsy Bailey, AMDD/FHI360

mCARE – Mobile technologies to improve rural referral systems for obstetric care
Shegufta Sikder, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health/USAID

Filmed in Arusha, Tanzania. Tuesday, 15 January 2013

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