Assistance for women, unborn, and newly born infants, following the principle of continuous care before and after pregnancy, is a fundamental health service.
Increasingly often a decisive improvement in the health conditions of a country can be achieved by acting on the maternal and infant sector, establishing sustainable prevention programmes, early diagnosis, medical and socio-medical assistance that impact on lifestyles and the economic, health, and social conditions of the country.
Therefore, in addition to being among the Millennium Development Goals (1) the improvement of maternal and child health is one of the inescapable requirements for promoting improved human development.
Through its experience in many countries, Cesvi has developed a series of operative strategies that have turned out to be particularly effective in improving maternal and infant health:
- in addition to effective identification of risk factors, it is important to organize a long term prevention policy involving groups of women and children and also involving men in order to maximise the impact of the intervention;
- staff training or capacity building is important to impact on the management of pregnancy and birth on different operative levels of the health system;
- it is advisable to reorganize medical activities, improving the decentralised management of the health services, with an adequate medical staff, favourable logistical conditions, adequate supplies and equipment.
- -it is necessary to promote evidence based action that improves the practice and behaviour connected with pregnancy and birth;
- it is important the support of peripheral health centres, seen as essential reference points for access to socio-medical services by a large section of the population in countries with limited economic resources still resident in rural or out skirting urban areas with poor cover from alternative and more structured health services.
Finally Cesvi gives priority to the needs and socio-medical rights of women, creating when possible the conditions to reinforce useful methods to improve the response capacity of the local health system to the needs of the entire reference population.
Case study: Maternal and child health programme in Kompong Chhnang province, Cambodia >>.pdf format