Abt Project Highlighted For Success In Reducing Maternal Deaths

USAID Event Features Dominican Republic's Efforts to Improve Maternal and Child Health Care

Apr 24, 2012, 15:24 ET from Abt Associates

BETHESDA, M.D., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An Abt Associates-led project to improve maternal and child health care services in the Dominican Republic was selected as one of only four projects to be highlighted this week at a joint USAID and State Department-hosted event featuring countries that have made significant advances in reducing maternal death.

Dominican Republic Minister of Health Dr. Bautista Rojas Gomez will join health ministers from Cambodia, Rwanda and Afghanistan in Washington to discuss drivers of success in reducing maternal mortality. As part of the USAID-funded Maternal & Child Centers of Excellence project, the nationwide number of maternal deaths in the Dominican Republic in 2011 showed a marked decline compared to 2010 – from 201 to 168 deaths (a 16.4 percent decrease). In 10 hospitals supported by the project, the number of maternal deaths decreased by almost half (-49.2 percent) during the same period.

The Maternal & Child Centers of Excellence project, a five-year project led by Abt Associates in partnership with the Ministry of Health, was created to improve the quality of and access to maternal and child health services with improvements in pre-natal, obstetric, and neonatal care, as well as updating health information system and client care services.

"This effort is helping improve the lives of people in the Dominican Republic by increasing their access to quality maternal and child care with the ultimate goal of reducing maternal and child deaths," said Dr. Carlos J. Cuellar, who directed the project for Abt during its first three years. "With the help of our partners, we show that by focusing on critical interventions and management improvements that emphasize quality and efficiency, we can greatly improve access to quality maternal and child health services."

The Abt Associates team partnered with staff from 10 carefully selected hospitals to apply the Centers of Excellence model — an approach that combines strengthened health systems with improved quality of care at a facility level.  The project has relied heavily on in-country expertise. Abt Associates partnered with several Dominican institutions, including Universidad Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo (INTEC), Sistemas y Procedimientos, S.A. (SISPROSA), and Demographic and Social Studies Consultants — DR (CESDEM). Abt Associates also included international partners such as the Health Services Institute (CES) and Cultural Practice. The project will continue for two more years.

About Abt Associates

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates was ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms in 2011 and also named one of the top 40 international development innovators.  The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in nearly 40 countries. www.abtassociates.com

SOURCE Abt Associates