Much of FCI's programmatic work focuses on “building the evidence base” on maternal and reproductive health. FCI works to:
- develop and communicate powerful advocacy messages that are firmly grounded in the evidence
- carry out and report about research on effective health interventions
- produce advocacy materials and publications that summarize and translate scientific data into language that is accessible to non-technical audiences
Here are some examples of FCI's programs:
Misoprostol for post-partum hemorrhage
In partnership with Gynuity Health Projects, FCI is working to evaluate and promote the use of the drug misoprostol as a therapy to prevent and treat postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). In this multi-year project, FCI is pursuing an evidence-based policy and advocacy agenda to share the latest research findings with key stakeholders; develop harmonized messages based on solid scientific information; and influence policy change to promote wider understanding, use, and acceptance of misoprostol for PPH in developing country settings.
A Price Too High to Bear: Research on economic and social costs of maternal death
In arguing for new resources for maternal and newborn health, advocates require solid data on the economic and social costs of maternal mortality and ill health to surviving children, families, communities, and societies. In collaboration with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), FCI is undertaking a research study in Kenya that will help quantify the unacceptable social and economic costs of poor maternal health outcomes — data that will highlight the importance of maternal health for the health and well-being of newborns and children, as well as the household, and serve as a catalyst for increased investment in interventions to ensure maternal survival. A report on this research will be produced during 2011.
Building demand for sexual and reproductive health services
Improving health outcomes requires an efficient and sensitive interaction between supply and demand, between the provision of care and the needs of individuals, families, and communities for quality services. In developing programs, governments, donors, and NGOs often emphasize the supply side of this equation — infrastructure development, health worker recruitment and training, equipment and commodity supply, and technology — and pay less attention to whether services, once they are made available, will actually be used. In sexual and reproductive health, where denial, fear, stigma, discrimination, social and cultural barriers, and high costs all have the potential to limit demand, work to increase utilization of services — by such strategies as individual, family, and community mobilization; education; and behavior change communication — is often poorly documented and little known. Working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), FCI has undertaken a desk review to identify the dominant strategies for improving demand, provide case examples of these program strategies, and outline lessons learned and recommendations by which international organizations can coordinate and advance efforts to increase demand and improve SRH outcomes. In 2011, FCI will share the main findings, identify innovative strategies and lessons learned, and develop a “promising practice” guide and toolkit to support demand-generation efforts.
Interconnections between maternal and neonatal health
There is widespread recognition that the health of a mother and her newborn are closely linked: most maternal and newborn deaths are caused by the poor health of the mother before or during pregnancy, or by the quality of care she and her newborn receive during and immediately after childbirth. Strategies for improving maternal and newborn health and survival are therefore closely related, and must be provided through a continuum of care approach. When linked together and included as integrated programs, these interventions can lower costs, promote greater efficiencies, and reduce duplication of resources. Although there is a consensus on the strategies that will stop women and newborns from dying during pregnancy, childbirth, and immediately following, existing evidence-based knowledge on the interconnectivity between maternal and newborn health interventions is sparse.
In 2010, FCI collaborated with Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta and a research team from Aga Khan University in Pakistan to review recent and on-going research on the impact of potential interventions on maternal and newborn outcomes, with a particular emphasis on linkages between the two. After presentations and consultations at the Women Deliver conference and the Global Maternal Health Conference in 2010, FCI is currently drafting an Executive Summary of the full research report for publication during 2011, and is developing advocacy messages to promote investment in and implementation of health interventions beneficial to women and newborns.
Countdown to 2015: Tracking Progress in Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival
The Countdown to 2015 initiative highlights the progress, obstacles, and solutions to achieving MDGs 4 and 5, forging a clear, evidence-based consensus on priority interventions and coverage indicators for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH). Countdown collects and analyzes data from the 68 countries that account for 97% of maternal and child deaths, and produces Country Profiles that present coverage data for a range of key health services (contraceptive use, antenatal care, skilled attendance at delivery, postnatal care, and child health), financial investments in MNCH, equity, and health systems and policy. FCI is a member of Countdown’s coordinating committee and co-chair of its Advocacy and Events sub-committee.
Learn more about FCI's advocacy partnerships
Learn more about FCI's global advocacy.