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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:

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