Maternal and Newborn Health

Swiss TPH designs, implements and evaluates programmes in maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) for over 25 years with our partners in low and middle income countries. Using a “health systems strengthening” approach we work at all levels of the health system from the community to higher levels of specialized hospital care ensuring alignment between interventions and national health strategies and action plans. Our research activities include evaluation research for national, international and global programmes as well as clinical and population based surveys and birth cohorts. A particular research focus is on social determinants of maternal and newborn health such as poverty, social exclusion and gender inequalities as drivers of health inequities.

Our Focus

Thematically we focus on increasing access and use of high quality perinatal health services including the promotion of safe pregnancy, family planning and post-neonatal care and follow up of high risk babies and rehabilitation services for premature newborns. Using decentralized approaches we work along the complete referral chain from community services to national reference centres and provide evidence for and facilitate the updating of national policies, regulations and standards of care. We contextualize international evidence to national, regional and community contexts in order to develop effective and sustainable solutions to improve MNCH.

Development of a Global Midwifery Education Accreditation Programme

The nursing and medical education is highly regulated in the majority of countries worldwide. However, midwifery education (including theoretical and practical training) is far less regulated, potentially impacting on the varying quality of midwifery education provided. The UNFPA State of the World’s Midwifery Report (2011) estimated an overall shortage of 350’000 midwives globally. The need of more midwives is also acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO), stating that more midwives are needed in order to improve maternal and newborn survival. While the number of practicing midwives needs to be increased, it is of great importance to ensure that the education of midwives is of highest quality and meets international standards. The provision of midwifery education of highest quality has tremendous impact not only on the work force performance and quality of services provided, but also on the lives of women, their newborns and their families as a whole.
Mandated by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Swiss TPH designed a global Midwifery Education Accreditation Programme (MEAP) to allow for the assessment of a midwifery (pre-registration) education program and certification meeting international standards developed by ICM. Link to Project

Perinatal Health in Moldova

Swiss TPH merged Moldovan and Swiss expertise to improve perinatal health in the Republic of Moldova with impressive results. Perinatal mortality was dramatically reduced by a Swiss funded effort to improve quality of care and modern team approaches in perinatal health centres. Today, critical newborns are followed up for more than two years following initial treatment to ascertain best health and cognitive development. Link to Project

Family Care in Switzerland

After birth, young parents often have to struggle on their own. Questions about breastfeeding or the adequate diet for their new-born child remain unanswered. The Swiss TPH-initiated project Familystart organises home-visits of nurses immediately after discharge from hospital to guarantee optimal health care for the infants. Moreover, a helpline was created offering advice in several languages. The project is implemented together with the obstetric clinics in Basel. Read more

Reduction of Neonatal Mortality in Ghana

Swiss TPH supported the Ghana School of Public Health of the University of Ghana and the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) in a DFID funded programme to strengthen accountability of service providers for high quality maternal and newborn health service delivery. This included facilitating the scale-up of a national supportive supervision system for MNH care, the use of innovative social accountability mechanisms to increase the quality of services and improved local use of data for decision making at district and health facility level. Link to Project Website