Despite advances in maternal health, ensuring women have skilled care during delivery remains a challenge. While rates of antenatal care visits have increased around the world, demand for institutional deliveries with skilled attendants remains low in many developing countries. Efforts to overcome infrastructural barriers –such as improving geographic and financial access– have often not yielded promising results, signaling more needs to be done about other factors affecting delivery decisions. Evidence indicates one deterrent to the uptake of skilled delivery services may be women’s experiences of disrespectful and abusive care during delivery. This could include instances of physical abuse, non-dignified care, non-consented care, non-confidential care, discrimination, abandonment of care and detention in facilities. As advocacy efforts around the promotion of respectful maternity care grow, there is a need to consider how their success will be measured.
The USAID Translating Research into Action (TRAction) project and the Maternal Health Task Force are convening a technical meeting, Measuring Advocacy for Policy Change: The case for respectful maternity care, to engage discussion around evaluating respectful maternity care advocacy for policy change from the global to the local level. The meeting will explore policy advocacy evaluation experiences from allied fields, applications of evaluation approaches, and best practices for determining outcomes and milestones for gauging policy advocacy success. By highlighting current approaches, challenges, and lessons learned for measuring policy advocacy, TRAction and the MHTF seek to create opportunities for ongoing collaboration and further dialogue with global, national and local policy makers, practitioners and advocates.
“Advocacy that influences or informs policy has the potential to achieve large scale results for communities and individuals so there is much interest in how to make this advocacy more effective”
– The Evaluation Exchange, Harvard Family Research Project