238954 Community-led planning to improve maternal and newborn health in Tenkodogo district, Burkina Faso

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Janet Perkins, MPH , Health Programmes, Enfants du Monde, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
Cecilia Capello, MIHMEP , Health Programmes, Enfants du Monde, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
Tougma TÚnÚ Sankara , Burkina Faso Regional Office, Enfants du Monde, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Annie Portela , Department of Making Pregnancy Safer, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
Carlo Santarelli, MA , Secretary General, Enfants du Monde, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
Burkina Faso Ministry of Health, supported by Enfants du Monde and UNFPA, is currently implementing a nationwide programme based on the WHO framework for working with Individuals, Families and Communities (IFC) to improve maternal and newborn health (MNH). Fundamental to this framework is community participation throughout all programme phases, starting with planning. The underlying assumption guiding planning is that consulting community members is essential to identify priority needs and potential solutions as well as to empower the community. Based on this principle, a participatory community assessment (PCA) was conducted in Tenkodogo district, involving round table discussions with community members including women of reproductive age, their husbands and household decision-makers. Individuals whose voices tend to be underrepresented due to illiteracy and lack of power were given equal importance in determining priority MNH needs, factors that prevent women from receiving healthcare and potential actions to address these problems. Some of the major challenges to MNH identified by the community were poor knowledge of good nutrition and hygiene practices during pregnancy, difficulty reducing the workload of pregnant women, unawareness of causes of maternal and neonatal death, postponing deciding to seek healthcare, difficulty reaching facilities and dissatisfaction with services. By giving precedence to underrepresented voices, the PCA identified priority concerns related to MNH and barriers to healthcare access that were not revealed through situation analyses using extant data. Moreover, their ideas and solutions are integrated with those of local decision makers and health providers, further increasing their voice and the potential for programme success.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Articulate the process of increasing underrepresented voices in health programming through participatory community assessments.

Keywords: International MCH, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I participate in the management of maternal and newborn health programs in developing countries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.