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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

Assess needs

In order to make operational the activities and interventions described in the Mother-Baby Package, policies must be defined and objectives and targets set, bearing in mind the situation in the country or region concerned. In most countries, these goals will form the basis of a safe motherhood “action plan” that will be followed by a more detailed implementation plan.

A critical step in the development of national action plans is an assessment of the current status of health policies, services and infrastructure. Such an assessment will enable health authorities to identify weaknesses or “gaps” in maternal and neonatal health provision and thus to identify areas requiring strengthening.

The specific objectives of the Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment are to provide national or district level managers with tools to:

· describe the antenatal, delivery, and postpartum care provided to women and newborn babies at all levels of the health care system;

· identify “gaps” in the provision of this care: specifically, assess the ability of staff to perform the functions identified in the Mother-Baby Package, as well as the availability of appropriate drugs, supplies, equipment, facilities, equipment and transport.

At this stage, the Mother-Baby Package should serve as a framework against which to compare current services with those defined as essential for mothers and newborns.

WHO has developed a structured approach - the Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment - to assist health authorities to identify rapidly these needs. It can be modified for individual country settings. It includes the use of model questionnaires, preprogrammed computerized data entry and analysis routines, and guidelines for interpretation and analysis of the information collected, along with step-by-step instructions.

The precise time-frame for implementation of a Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment will vary from country to country although it has been designed to be implemented within a six-month period.