Rhodes University, South Africa
Title: Maternal health in rural South Africa: A case study of a synergistic community partnership
Biography: Sunitha Srinivas
The Countdown to 2015 Accountability Report for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival identified 74 priority countries with a high level of the maternal mortality and South Africa featured on the list. The maternal mortality ratio is 140 per 100,000 live births in South Africa when compared to the global and regional average of 210 and 500 respectively. This is a concern because despite being a middle-income country, being less dependent on foreign aid, having a stable macro economy and allocating 8.8% of GDP for health, the maternal health issues are high in South Africa. This research focusses on maternal health in a resource constrained rural setting, with a special focus on Adolescent pregnancy. Compared with older women, adolescents have an increased risk of maternal death and also adolescent pregnancy negatively impacts development of young women physically, emotionally, socially, economically and with regards to their education. Hence adolescent targeted maternal health promotion strategies with the support of two Non-governmental organisations has been the focus of this research. As a community based participatory research project, this first time collaborative partnership since 2011 involves the Faculty of Pharmacy and Community Engagement Office of Rhodes University with a NGO. During the baseline phase of this study, ten focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with 76 community stakeholders. Semi-structured interviews (SSIs) were conducted with two Sisters-in-Charge from each Primary Health Care (PHC) facility in the study setting. Data on the stock status of World Health Organization (WHO) identified lifesaving priority medicines for women’s health was also collected at both PHCs.