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close this bookMother-Baby Package: Implementing Safe Motherhood in Countries (WHO, 1996, 108 p.)
close this folderHOW to operationalize the Mother-Baby Package
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDefine national policy and guidelines
View the documentAssess needs
View the documentPrepare national plan of action
View the documentEstimate costs
View the documentIdentify sources of financial support
View the documentDevelop detailed implementation plan
Open this folder and view contentsImplement planned activities
View the documentMonitor and evaluate

Define national policy and guidelines

In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the activities and to foster the collaborative efforts that will be needed, an essential first step is the development of a sense of national commitment to the goals, targets and activities outlined in the Mother-Baby Package. This requires the creation of awareness of the magnitude and importance of the problem and the provision of such information to decision-makers in health and other sectors, NGOs, women’s groups etc. This advocacy effort is necessary for the development of a sense of national commitment to tackle the problem.

Implementing the range of actions required by the Mother-Baby Package will not be feasible or sustainable in the absence of a high-level national commitment. This requires bringing together key actors and institutions to take a role in national programme development and implementation. At this stage, the involvement of political leaders at the highest level can serve as a catalyst to the development of a national policy framework and action plan.

Very early in the process, it is important to ensure collaboration and communication within the health care system. The Mother-Baby Package can serve to stimulate dialogue between health managers and health care providers. Such dialogue should seek to identify policy issues which need to be resolved. Examples include the judicial and regulatory framework within which different health care providers function and which stipulate who can do what and at which level of the health care system.

Many countries have ensured a continuing national commitment to the process by establishing a Task Force which brings together representatives of national ministries, e.g. health, finance, planning, women’s affairs, community development, education, along with professional associations, universities and teaching hospitals, women’s groups and NGOs. A Task Force can help to sustain the momentum through subsequent stages of national plan development and implementation and can coordinate inputs and activities of the various actors in the process.