Propelling Motherhood: One Year Later
After a successful year of impact, our Propelling Motherhood Project has come to an end. We cannot thank our amazing Village Health Team members, boda drivers and support staff enough for their hard work and dedication to this project. We surpassed our original goal to serve 480 women—in the end reaching 496—making a total of 1,924 postnatal home visits to new moms.
Funded by Grand Challenges Canada, Propelling Motherhood was a pilot project to create a provable and replicable model of care to address the risks that mothers and babies face in the first month following birth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly half of mother and newborn deaths happen in the first 24 hours after childbirth–66% in the first week. In Uganda, less than 50% of new mothers access postpartum care due to limited access, negative perceptions surrounding seeking care outside of the household and immediate family, and lack of education and awareness on postpartum care, hygiene, and danger signs.
Through Propelling Motherhood, we brought postpartum care directly to the homes of mothers in the Luwero District. We hired and trained 20 Village Health Team workers (VHTs)–some of whom were former traditional midwives–on identifying common postpartum illnesses, and referring mothers and infants to the hospital for treatment if they required additional care. These VHTs used smartphones to collect data from visits and were paired with boda boda drivers trained in safe emergency transportation.
- 501 babies received 4 in-home postpartum visits (aligned with WHO standards for postpartum follow-up care)
- 992 parents received 4 in-home postpartum visits (aligned with the WHO standards for postpartum follow-up care)
- 14 mothers were referred to a hospital for life-saving care
- 35 infants were referred to a hospital for life-saving care
- 33 jobs were created (20 VHTs, 10 boda drivers, and 3 Shanti admin staff)
- 38 health workers & subcontractors were trained on safe motherhood topics, danger signs and healthy hygiene & sanitation practices (including 10 men)
- Thorough research and analysis was conducted on pre-project knowledge of VHTs & boda drivers followed by post-project knowledge & awareness changes.
Thank you to our research partner, The Firelight Group, who is conducting the final analysis of the project’s outcomes. We look forward to learning more about the impact Propelling Motherhood had on postpartum health and education in Shanti’s surrounding community.
Following the success of Propelling Motherhood, we are excited to carry on improving access to postpartum care in the Luweero district through our new Home Health Outreach Program. VHTs Jesca and Janat will pay four postnatal visits to new Shanti moms, just as they did in the Propelling Motherhood program. At Shanti, we continue to look at ways to support mothers and children in the critical postnatal period beyond the lifetime of this project in our mission to provide access to high-quality healthcare to the most vulnerable populations.