This toolkit from the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA), World Health Organization (WHO), was designed to support countries to integrate and operationalise key themes of empowerment and community engagement in maternal and newborn health (MNH) programmes at the district level. It was developed in response to questions about how to implement the framework articulated in the 2003 WHO concept and strategy paper entitled Working with individuals, families and communities to improve maternal and newborn health (see Related Summaries, below). It is meant to serve as a resource to support countries in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating health promotion interventions for MNH. In addition to strengthening links between communities, local authorities, health services, and other actors, the process outlined in the five modules is designed to contribute to strengthening links between the district, provincial, and national levels of the health system.
The IFC framework, originally elaborated in the 2003 document referenced above, was developed in response to the observation that a robust and systematic health promotion component was largely absent from most MNH strategies in countries. Grounded on the foundational principles of health promotion as outlined in the Ottawa Charter, the framework and the interventions it proposes were formulated based on an examination of evidence and successful experiences in working with individuals, families, and communities to improve MNH.
The toolkit's components include:
- Module 1: An Overview of Implementation at National, Province and District Levels [56 pages, PDF]
- Module 2: Facilitator's Guide to the Orientation Workshop on the IFC Framework [82 pages, PDF]
- Module 3: Participatory Community Assessment [PCA] in Maternal and Newborn Health [98 pages, PDF] - An overview on conducting the PCA, a participatory tool designed to support district-level actors to assess the MNH situation and needs and to identify priority interventions for IFC implementation. In brief, the PCA:
- utilises a participatory approach that includes members of the community and different stakeholders in the collection and analysis of information on the local MNH situation and is intended to be the first step in the empowerment of individuals, families, and communities;
- contributes to the promotion of rights of women and men by allowing them to meaningfully participate in voicing their needs and designing interventions meant to benefit them;
- combines different methods for compiling a wide range of information and experiences, such as a situation analysis and roundtable discussions with different actors who are influential in MNH matters;
- encourages a detailed analysis of the MNH situation, supporting the identification of feasible interventions from the IFC framework that can strengthen the local MNH strategy; and
- supports programme managers and other actors to take the next steps in implementation of the IFC component, playing a central role in the design and implementation of interventions.
- Module 4: Training Guide for Facilitators of the Participatory Community Assessment in Maternal and Newborn Health [88 pages, PDF]
- Module 5: Finalizing, Monitoring and Evaluating the IFC Action Plan [86 pages, PDF]
To date, the toolkit, in different stages of development and in various degrees, has been used in the following countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Paraguay, and the Republic of Moldova. WHO has learned from each of these experiences and has tried to incorporate the learning throughout the toolkit's development. The toolkit is intended to be reviewed and adapted within each country to suit the national and local context.
WHO website, November 8 2017. Image credit: Enfants du Monde