Improving the access and quality of maternal and child health care in Angola using integrated software that enabled a management plan at the municipality level, developing Intersectoral cooperation, and local partnerships development collaboration.
The software enabled to identify equipment, infrastructures and health professionals needs to capacity building and training for optimization, promoting cooperation with the government investment.
The software gathered data from the field research from more than 300 local primary care health units providing critical knowledge to government Maternal and Child sector investment.
In the following chapters, we present the problem and solution context.
Negative Cycle of Maternal and Child Mortality
According to the WHO Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for approximately 86% (254 000) of the estimated global maternal deaths in 2017 (Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for roughly two-thirds - 196 000).
Maternal deaths Women die as a result of complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these complications develop during pregnancy and most are preventable or treatable. Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive adequate health care. This is especially true for regions with low numbers of skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
The following figure presents the main problems that affect Maternal and Child Mortality.
Health is one of the determinants of poverty and diseases are a major cause for the reduction of household production and income. In a country where more than half of the population are children, Angola ranked in 2010 one of the first places in the child mortality rate, under 5 years (194 deaths per 1000 births) where according to the UNDP report, Angola ranked the 162nd place (out of 177 countries) in the Human Development Index.
The solution in Angola
It all started in 2009, with the Angolan and Portuguese Catholic Church Partners that joined together under the guiding principle of developing and implementing projects that could contribute to the improvement of Maternal and Child Health in Angola.
The Catholic Church in Angola (ICA, acronym in Portuguese) has had over the centuries a central role in the health sector, which includes hospitals, health centers, clinics, laboratories, pharmacies spread throughout the provinces. This network is particularly vital for the most vulnerable populations, both in urban as in rural and remote areas. Aware of the role and capabilities of the social innovation in a development context, the Angolan Bishop’s Conference (CEAST, acronym in Portuguese) in cooperation with FEC carry out a Diagnosis and Strategic Study Maternal Health Care of ICA. The diagnosis was performed in the Municipalities of Benguela, Bié, Huambo, Luanda, and Moxico using the integrated software as the main tool. This software allowed the program management, research data, but also to use it as a tool for advocacy and negotiation with the Ministry of Health of Angola (MINSA, acronym in Portuguese) and other institutional donors.
The main objectives of this project were to enable the following needs into a positive benefits cycle:
Improving the prenatal and the postpartum cares
Improving child health care (childhood diseases integrated management)
Awareness-raising of the involved communities
Training and optimization of the health HRs and community health workers
Infrastructures rehabilitation and equipment
The integrated software
A Health information management integrated Software enabled the implementation of the maternal health care program with several components.
A Web-based georeferenced information software for the survey, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the individual health projects
That enabled the health units' equipment and infrastructure's data characterization
and medical services and health professional's characterization.
The Maternal care barriers
After the data research results, in 2013, it was possible to conclude some barriers and difficulties found in the Maternal Health Care system.
After the first diagnosis, several capacity-building projects were implemented in partnership with the local and central government, improving the technical skills of human health resources in the National Health System and reinforcing the culture of coordination and sharing of information and good practices between the public health subsystems and the Catholic Church in Angola (ICA).
From 2013-2018, more than 400 health professionals were trained impacting positively more than 300.000 persons/year.