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QA Project’s Successful Program Featured in New Reproductive Health Manual

An article about the QA Project’s work to improve the quality of obstetric care in Nicaragua has just been published in the healthcare manual Guidelines for Reproductive and Sexual Health Projects in Developing Countries.

The manual was written as a practical guide for health workers and facilitators involved in reproductive health projects at the grass roots level around the world. The book was published by the School of Human Genetics and Population Health, in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. Dr. Subidita Chatterjee, of the School of Human Genetics and Population Health, was the lead author.

The QA Project article, Saving Mothers and Newborns: Improving the Quality of Obstetric and Neonatal Care in Rural Nicaragua, by Cynthia Young, QA Project Senior Writer, is the lead article in a section on innovative approaches from developing countries.

The article described the QA Project’s USAID-funded work in the rural northern mountains of Nicaragua to improve the quality of health services and lower maternal mortality. Less than a year after the quality assurance program began, in just 10 months, the intervention boosted the performance of healthcare staff and substantially lowered maternal mortality rates.

During the intervention, which was led by Drs. Oscar Nuñez and Luis Urbina, service processes were redesigned, clients’ needs were surveyed, and health workers were retrained. Client satisfaction also soared. Patient flow was streamlined with a special queue for pregnant women to reduce waiting time. Waiting rooms were improved and privacy screens were set up in examination rooms and sleeping wards.

In the manual, Dr. Chatterjee writes that she developed the guidelines because she saw a need for comprehensive, practical guidelines in reproductive health, especially for beginners in the field. Non-medical managers, she wrote, need to know the basics of relevant medical technical knowledge, and medical personnel seem to lack orientation and information on related social science issues in the project work scenario, she added. The manual attempts to bridge the gap between medical and social science perspectives that hinder the progress of projects.

The manual contains two parts. Part One contains suggested steps to conducting reproductive health projects. Part Two consists of technical capacity building for reproductive/sexual health projects. Dr. Chatterjee plans to translate the manual into Hindi and Bengali, as well as start an email discussion group on reproductive health.

For more information about the manual, visit the website: http://www.geocities.com/sohgaph_1993/index.html, or contact Dr. Chatterjee at subidita@loxinfo.co.th or samadrita@vsnl.net.

To read the QA Project article, "The USAID Maternal Health Technical Series", visit the "What’s New” archives.

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The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) under Contract Number GPH-C-00-02-00004-00.