Mary Nell Wegner, Executive Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, reviewed the goal and objectives of the meeting. She also discussed common themes that arose throughout the day, areas which need further consideration, and priorities for next steps from meeting participants.
The objective of this panel was to demonstrate the variety of promising approaches to integrated maternal and newborn health care, with a particular focus on the strategies guiding those approaches, and how those strategies have come to achieve success, or be seen as promising.
Eddie Mhlanga (moderator) drew on his experiences in South Africa to analyze and share results from the pre-meeting survey Question 5, to frame the discussion (In your experience, what approaches have been successful to delivering quality maternal and newborn health care? Why?).
Panelists presented a diverse mix of promising approaches for effectively integrating quality maternal and newborn care in a variety of contexts. Panelists placed specific emphasis on the theory of change , evidence base supporting these approaches and the contextual factors that enabled their success.
• Jorge Hermida spoke about his experiences with integrated quality improvement and scaling up these approaches system-wide in settings with high institutional delivery rates in Latin America and the Caribbean.
• Nosa Orobaton described community-based approaches to integrated care in settings with weak health systems and low institutional involvement.
• Priya Agrawal shared how the Saving Mothers, Giving Life initiative is approaching investment in maternal and newborn health, public-private partnerships as a strategy, and what this vision looks like on the ground.
Jim Litch from the University of Washington shared results from the pre-meeting survey Questions 3 and 4 (What do you see as the major barriers to the effective integration of quality maternal and newborn care?
Vertical programming, lack of training, lack of suitable integration models are just some of the barriers enlisted by the group. Some of areas of opportunity include, how maternal health improving services can also be effective in newborn health and the Sustainable Development Goals as a potential window of opportunity for integration.
Sharad Iyengar from Action Research & Training for Health (ARTH), India ,talks about the value and limitations of the integrated continuum of care framework. The framework is a multidimensional tool applicable not just to care but also accountability and engagement of patients in areas including and beyond MNCH.
He deliberates on what is the need of the hour? Incremental changes or a complete overhaul of the structure? To address this question he highlights the limitations of translating this integrated framework into reality on the ground caused due to inherent discontinuities across boundaries.
Dr. Ana Langer, director of the Women & Health Initiative at HSPH, and Dr. Joy Lawn, director of Saving New Born Lives, set the agenda for this landmark technical meeting on integrating maternal and new born healthcare amidst a diverse group of experts from different geographies and affiliations. The meeting sets out to evaluate current evidence, explore new models and approaches to care, how to overcome barriers and leverage enablers to ensure policy is translated into actionables on the field, making integrated maternal and new born healthcare a reality.