The overall number of pregnancy-related deaths in Karnataka state is low compared to other states in India, but a closer look reveals disparities. Women in the mostly rural, northern area of the state suffer much higher rates of maternal mortality than those in the south. Previous studies have identified two main drivers for the regional difference in risk: weak, informal referral networks and a lack of trained health care providers.

In an effort to reduce disparities and improve maternal health in northern Karnataka, the Maternal Health Task Force partnered with St. John’s Research Institute and the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust to develop and test a package of interventions aimed at strengthening referral networks and improving clinicians’ technical skills. The package included:

  • Trainings to build core obstetric and neonatal technical skills for both specialists and non-specialists in collaboration with the Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy
  • Emergency obstetric drills
  • Referral system mapping
  • Ongoing supportive supervision from obstetric and pediatric specialists

The interventions were rigorously evaluated using both qualitative and quantitative methods to determine their effectiveness and potential for scale-up to other underserved areas in India.

Read the findings resulting from this research:

Limited effectiveness of a skills and drills intervention to improve emergency obstetric and newborn care in Karnataka, India: A proof-of-concept study
Global Health: Science and Practice | December 2016

Adoption and completeness of documentation using a structured delivery record in secondary care, subdistrict government hospitals of Karnataka State, India
Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology | 2016