Four faculty members from the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health have been awarded funding to evaluate a project using a quality improvement approach to advance maternal and newborn health outcomes in Ethiopia.
Dr. Kavita Singh Ongechi, research assistant professor of maternal and child health at the Gillings School, is the primary investigator. Dr. Ilene Speizer, research professor in the same department, will act as co-investigator, along with Dr. Clare Barrington, assistant professor of health behavior, and Dr. Bruce Fried, associate professor of health policy and management.
The UNC faculty members will work in close collaboration with the implementing project team, which is a partnership between the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health. This marks the second collaboration for IHI and UNC, as they already are working together on Project Fives Alive! in Ghana.
In Ethiopia, both the project implementation and evaluation have been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a two-and-a-half-year period. The total evaluation funding is $500,000.
The implementing team will use continuous learning approaches to enable health facilities to deliver clinical care bundles aimed at reducing the main causes of maternal and newborn mortality in-country. Implementation will start with a pilot phase in a small number of facilities and then expand to a test-of-scale phase.
The evaluation team will use a mixed methods approach, including impact analysis, cost analysis and qualitative assessments, to understand whether and how the intervention is leading to improved process and outcome indicators during each phase of implementation.