Strengthening Community Accountability Mechanisms to Improve Maternal & Child Health Services

 

  Real accountability happens when citizens, communities, and health workers take joint ownership of the health system and its results

 

About the RMCH Project

Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality through Strengthening Primary Health Care in South Africa (RMCH): RMCH is a three-year national programme (May 2012 until March 2015) funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID).

The main aim of the RMCH programme is to provide support to the National Department of Health (NDoH) to improve the quality of, and access to, reproductive, maternal and child health services for women and children living in poorer, underserviced parts of South Africa.

 The RMCH programme aims to:

• Support districts to oversee improvement of MNCH services.

• Strengthen delivery of school health, ward-based primary health care, and obstetric and neonatal emergency services.

• Improve demand and accountability for MNCH services.

• Document and disseminate new knowledge to remove barriers to the uptake and access to MNCH services.

Overview of the Black Sash RMCH Accountability Model

The Black Sash has tested an accountability model in pilot sites in OR Tambo and uMgungundlovu where we trained a partnership of community health committees, civil society organisations and multi-stakeholder forums and supported them to implement a community scorecard process.

Black Sash RMCH Training Programme:
• The training programme focused on building capacities and knowledge to enable stakeholders to take action to address MNCH challenges in partnership with communities and health professionals.
• The training included themes such as MNCH rights and responsibilities and how to implement a community scorecard process.

The Community Scorecard Intervention:
Black Sash has supported representatives from community health committees and civil society organisations and multi-stakeholder forums to:

• Jointly monitor quality of and access to MNCH services for women and children.
• Draw up joint MNCH action plans in partnership with a variety of stakeholders to improve maternal, neonatal and child health.

After assessing the benefits of this model and making the necessary refinements, key learning and training tools will be disseminated to priority districts and more extensively through our networks within South Africa and abroad.