Medical Research Council
World Health Organization
Health Systems Trust
2011-2012 Education Sector HIV and AIDS: Global Progress Survey- Progression, Regression or Stagnation?UNAIDS
Windows of Opportunity Project: Review and Analysis of Maternal and Child Health Development Data for Four Project Districts in South Africa
Up to half a million African babies die on the day they are born, and every year 1.16 million babies die in the first month of life while another one million babies are stillborn. In addition, about 250 000 women die of pregnancy-related causes every year in Africa. The majority of these deaths are preventable. However due to factors such as critical shortage of health professionals and essential materials and infrastructure, ineffective intervention programmes as well as the impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, the Africa continent continues to lose millions of babies and mothers every year. Hence, there is a need to strengthen the health systems in many African countries through effective maternal and child health (MCH) intervention programmes.
South Africa, one of the few countries in Africa with a relatively high Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, has reproductive health policies that could be regarded as among the most progressive and comprehensive in the world. Despite government commitment however, maternal and child mortality rates have continued to increase over the past few years. Each year, an estimated 1 400 mothers die, 20 000 babies are stillborn and another 22 000 die before the reach the first month of age, and an additional 60 000 children die before the reach their 5th birthday (Chopra and Lawn, 2009; Department of Health, 2009).
In order to collect relevant information on maternal and child health (MCH), Health Systems Trust (HST) was commissioned by PATH to conduct a desktop review and analysis of MCH data for the four selected districts and provinces: Sedibeng (Gauteng); uThungulu (KwaZulu-Natal); Nkangala (Mpumalanga); and John Taolo Gaetsewe (Northern Cape Province). The objective of the study is to analyse district and sub-district level data to identify the problems, needs, challenges, services and priority solutions for each of the four project districts.
Information on PATH
PATH is one of the international non-profit organisations that are involved in the development and provision of interventions to improve maternal and child health and well-being in South Africa. By collaborating with local organisations in South Africa, PATH is able to provide effective intervention programmes that address maternal and child health problems. PATH, through the Window of Opportunity Project, is currently in the process of developing a model package of evidence-based interventions to address early childhood development, such as optimal care practices and appropriate use of technologies in the home or clinic, immunisation, and child development assessments. Thus, there is a need to conduct an initial assessment of the maternal and child health problems and needs in four selected provinces and districts – Sedibeng (Gauteng); uThungulu (KwaZulu-Natal); Nkangala (Mpumalanga); and John Taolo Gaetsewe (Northern Cape Province).