Supported by the Maternal Health Task Force, MaiMwana piloted a project to strengthen the current Maternal Death Review system in Malawi through a village-level program of maternal death audits. The project used community Maternal Death Review (MDR) teams based in health facilities in the Mchinji district to collect information regarding maternal deaths. The MDR teams worked with the deceased woman’s community, in collaboration with health workers, in order to learn more about the causes and circumstances surrounding each woman’s death. Information was then shared between MDR teams around the district in order to form comprehensive strategies to prevent future maternal deaths. By including health workers, health facilities, community leaders, and community members in their pilot, MaiMwana was able to target every level of care where a pregnant woman might seek assistance. This comprehensive view towards improving the care of pregnant women is vital to decreasing the number of maternal deaths.
The pilot project provided important data to MaiMwana, as well as valuable information for other community organizations trying to implement similar programs in other districts or countries. The team from MaiMwana described their assessment of the project:
An assessment was conducted after piloting the Community focused maternal death reviews. The findings were: the process has created more awareness on maternal health issues to the community, it provides interaction between health workers and the community, and the community can identify a maternal death, problems and solutions. The success in the community-focused interventions depended on traditional leaders’ participation, as custodians of culture. Involvement of different professionals in health service assists to identify gaps in provision of health services and addressing them adequately at all levels.
Below are a number of documents that resulted from the MHTF funded program at MaiMwana:
- Community focused maternal death review evaluation form
- Community focused maternal death review form
- Community maternal death review team manual
- Health facility maternal death review team manual
- Health facility evaluation form
- Community focused maternal death review project diagram
- Strategy flowchart for preventing maternal deaths