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Available data indicate that maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in Zimbabwe is being compromised by low uptake of services along the continuum-of-care over the critical 1,000-day period covering pregnancy and the first two years of life.
Multiple, interrelated demand-side barriers – such as poverty, gender inequality and sociocultural norms – constrain the capacity of rural Zimbabwean women to seek health care.
Previous research and program experience from Zimbabwe, as well as the global evidence base, indicate that social support, women’s economic empowerment, and men’s positive engagement in family health are important enablers at the community level that can support women to access essential MNCH services.
This approach is well suited to Mutasa District in Manicaland Province, which is largely rural, with low health service utilisation and poor maternal and infant health outcomes compared to other parts of Zimbabwe.
A community-based program to support care-seeking among women in Mutasa District by empowering women and creating an enabling environment has the potential to substantially improve health outcomes for women, infants and children. Evidence generated through the program can inform efforts to improve MNCH in other areas in Zimbabwe and other country contexts.
Improve health outcomes among 3,200 mother-baby pairs in Mutasa District by empowering mothers and creating an enabling environment to support women to seek and adhere to high quality essential MNCH services in eight rural health clinic catchment areas.
Generate high-quality evidence to support efforts to address demand-side barriers that constrain MNCH service utilisation.
1 July 2015 – December 2018
In project areas, it is expected that:
These changes should contribute to higher level development outcomes, including increased facility birth, improved maternal mental health, increased women’s economic empowerment, improved care and support for women during pregnancy, reduced gender-based violence, and more equitable gender norms.
It is also expected that evidence generated through the program will contribute to the emerging global literature on male involvement in MNCH.
DFAT Australian NGO Cooperation Program