|Mother-Baby Package: Implementing Safe Motherhood in Countries (WHO, 1996, 108 p.)|
|HOW to operationalize the Mother-Baby Package|
Since the start of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, many national, international and bilateral agencies have developed programmes to support safe motherhood activities in countries where the need is greatest. Such support will continue to be needed in many developing countries in the foreseeable future. Although such external support is welcome, the challenge is to promote proper coordination at national level and to ensure that the activities put into effect are sustainable by countries in the long term.
In developing national action plans, countries can use the Mother-Baby Package to promote greater coordination between the different internal and external actors in safe motherhood. Initial consultation with donors and technical support agencies interested in maternal health not only promotes collaboration but also strengthens national planning and avoids duplication and waste of resources. One of the first steps in the process of identifying sources of financial support should be the convening of a meeting of national and international interested parties. This step should be taken by some individual or agency according to the agencys mandate and policies and financed by specific sources of funds.
Where the physical infrastructure is very weak, financial support for creating or improving facilities will be needed as a prerequisite for implementation.
Governments should allocate adequate resources to the national action plan within the context of the overall funds available. In many instances, a disproportionately low amount is allocated for maternal and newborn care.
Initiatives that encourage community cost-sharing and community management of facilities should be initiated. A review of experiences in Africa, including those in the Bamako Initiative, indicates that programmes in which resources are mobilized (at least partially) at the local level have a greater likelihood of increased health service utilization and better management.
The voluntary and private sectors also provide a significant proportion of obstetric and newborn services and need to be part of the decision-making process.