Online Program

Maama omwaana: A tale of partnerships and community building

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Ruth C. White, PhD, MPH, MSW, Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, Seattle University, Seattle, WA
The story of Maama Omwaana is about the power of connections. It is the tale of connecting two communities - Seattle, WA and Njeru, Uganda through a grandmother and her granddaughter's mother. It is the story of bringing the community of Njeru together to save their mothers from the ravages of maternal mortality and morbidity. OBJECTIVE: Maama Omwaana leveraged community networks to form partnerships and build a coalition to lower rates of morbidity and mortality. METHODS: Using existing community networks, the project directors brought together a broad sector of the Njeru community to develop interconnected strategies for sharing the work of improving maternal and child health. This included a beer company, a dance troupe, an adult-learning center, a HIV/AIDS NGO, a public health clinic, and a radio station. Representatives from these organizations received training in Safe Motherhood strategies and developed interventions for use in their own work settings. In Seattle, linkages to the community were made with a local private school that funded bicycles for the clinic, donated books to create a library at a school and raised money to pour concrete for a classroom floor. These are just some of the examples. OUTCOMES: The linkages made in the community resulted in a tripling of use of maternity services at the clinic in 2 years, even though overall clinic use stayed flat. Connecting the broader community to the White Ribbon Alliance facilitated the inclusion of 11 squares on the Women Deliver quilt and leadership in the National Secretariat in Uganda.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate community-building as a public health strategy List at least 4 sectors that can be partnered for health Identify ways in which community partners can be linked for mutual benefit Evaluate partnerships & coalition-building as strategies for sustainability

Keyword(s): Community Collaboration, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For 5 years I was the co-director for the project described in this abstract. I helped design it, raised money for it, and got a fellowship to start it.
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.