Maternal health is an issue that can affect the entire community. For this reason, it’s important to involve everyone in order to have better results for expectant mothers. When the community is more actively involved, they are more aware of any issues in the existing health care system.
Using educational tools in the community is one of the ways to keep people involved in the process of improving maternal health. This was something discussed earlier this year at the Institutionalizing Community Health Care Conference (ICHC) in South Africa. For example making videos that demonstrate ways to implement better health practices, nutrition, reproductive health and more, can help teach people how they can be more empowered on maternal health issues.
Caring for Community Health Care Workers
They are the front line to everything. Often working long hours and sometimes in the most inadequate facilities, they can suffer from the effects of trying to do everything with limited resources.
When health care workers are well taken care of, they are better able to service their community in a more effective way. Finding ways to compensate, care for and perhaps find quality accommodations for them can improve how they manage their patients. Also ensuring there are adequate number of nurses, mid-wives and other health care professionals in a clinic or hospital to service the number of patients is also a way to keep them
Working together to Hold Leadership Accountable
One of the big problems in some countries is the lack of accountability of those in leadership. For instance there was a hospital I visited in the Central Region of Ghana where one of the staff said one of the health care workers was still collecting a salary when he had long retired. I was also told that some collect salaries and don’t even work there. Considering it was a government operated hospital, why is nobody being held accountable? What about the audits? The money wasted on someone who doesn’t even work there, could easily be utilized to service the care of patients.
If more people speak out against the things leadership have done, perhaps they will make more of an effort to change. When leaders are allowed to get away with wrong, they just keep doing it.
Listening to the Affected
Taking note of the experiences of the women in the communities is perhaps the most effective way to know what improvements need to be made. Take a closer look at what the leading causes are for maternal mortality in their communities. Ask them what are some of the challenges they face when pregnant and approaching delivery. You will find that engaging them into the conversation will be perhaps one of the most valuable ways to know how to move forward and improve their current situation.
These are just a few of the ways involving the community can improve maternal care. Of course some countries are much better off than others, but each can still see improvements by implementing some of these ideas.