Innovative approaches to maternal and newborn health are essential in ensuring greater coverage of quality services

Although we live in modern, technologically advanced times, it’s disheartening that almost 300,000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017 globally, while 2.4 million newborns died in 2019 during their first 28 days.

What’s even more upsetting is the fact the majority of maternal deaths could have been prevented with the right medical care. A high percentage of these deaths take place in developing countries, so poverty and inequality are often the underlying causes of tragic outcomes for women.

Innovative approaches to maternal and newborn health are invaluable as they hold the potential to improve the quality of health care services, secure better health outcomes for both women and their babies, and lastly – ensure equitable access to essential maternal and newborn health (MNH) services.

Let’s take a closer look at new interventions and approaches to MNH service delivery.

Medical Products and Health Technologies

Novel medical technologies are mostly focused on providing low-cost and low-tech iterations of existing devices. The low-tech feature refers to more simplified construction and production principles for these instruments.

These innovative products include single-use obstetric kits, low-cost, low-tech portable obstetrical ultrasound equipment, automated blood pressure devices tailored for low-resource environments, as well as non-pneumatic anti-shock garments to stabilize and resuscitate pregnant women with hypovolemic shock.

In addition to this, low-cost, low-tech birth stimulators have been used and proven to be very useful in training various cadres in providing safe delivery techniques.

When discussing novel technologies that ensure better health outcomes for women and their newborns, it’s impossible not to mention cord blood banking, a process of collecting stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta.

These powerful stem cells have life-saving capabilities. The ones originating from cord blood can be used in treating close to 100 conditions, including leukemia and anemia. And their full treatment potential is yet unknown.

When it comes to newborn health, low-cost, low-tech infant warmers, neonatal resuscitators, and phototherapy devices for the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia have gained more attention.

Innovative Health Workforce Approaches

One of the main issues within the human workforce is the shortage of skilled health professionals. Therefore, these approaches are mainly focused on enhancing the knowledge, skills, and competencies of medical staff.

For instance, these approaches include novel training programs like training of professional midwives in newborn care as skilled care at birth can improve the survival and health of newborns. Some innovative midwife programs have had amazing results, like reducing preterm births by up to 24%.

Also, simulations are being used to provide additional training for medical doctors and other healthcare employees in neonatal resuscitation.

Innovative education strategies have been utilizing electronic teaching, also known as e-learning programs, and phone texts for continuing education in environments where in-person training is difficult or can’t be conducted.

Community Ownership and Participation

Innovative Approaches to Maternal, Newborn HealthMore and more evidence is pointing to community ownership and participation as positively affecting maternal and neonatal mortality. Community-based interventions are focused on strengthening community-based health mechanisms, and as such, they are vital in providing effective MNH care services.

Engagement of community leaders, community health education, community-based packages of MNH care, and other forms of community participation can increase population coverage and responsiveness to the needs of new mothers and their babies.

Reliable online resources can be of great help as well.

Comprehensive and independent information on health conditions, medications, medical devices, and the latest health news, provided by authoritative websites like Meds News, enable women to access scientifically-based medical articles written clearly and concisely.

This type of medical content allows women to stay up to date with current medical services and treatment options, so they can be well informed when consulting their healthcare providers on the issues regarding prenatal care, pregnancy, birth, and postnatal care.

Novel Models of Financing

The financial burden of maternal and newborn healthcare in low- and middle-income countries mostly falls on the households. This means that families unable to pay struggle with delays or even can’t access the care they require, which sometimes leads to fatal outcomes.

On that note, innovative health financing models that remove or reduce MNH service user fees have been demonstrated to have positive effects. They increase access and utilization of these services, improving care among vulnerable populations like the poor.

Innovative approaches to maternal and newborn health are essential in ensuring greater coverage of quality services and improving better health outcomes for women and their newborns.

Reaching out to the poor and remote populations and educating them on essential matters like understanding women’s reproductive cycles has proven to be of pivotal importance since vulnerable groups are at greater risk of mortality and health complications.

Lastly, for innovative approaches to be successful, they also need to be adequately assessed, sustainable, and integrated into the health system. This will ensure universal access to essential medical services during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first month of the baby’s life.

Image Sources

  • Community leader: Katerina Holmes
  • Mom and newborn: Creation Hill