Maternal and Child Health (MCH) - IMA World Health
Mary Opani, who works for IMA World Health, gives thanks for the Safe Motherhood Kit she received when she was pregnant with her little boy. She lives in South Sudan. (Photo by Christopher Glass)

Achieving results in some of the toughest environments in Africa


Pregnancy and childbirth are the most dangerous times in a woman’s life in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 300,00 women die during childbirth each year, primarily from postpartum hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, and obstructed labor. Their newborn and young children are vulnerable as well, at risk of dying from infections during, after birth and in early childhood. More than 1.5 million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Despite these challenges, much progress has been made in recent years in improving Maternal and Child Health (MCH) thanks in part to advocacy and funding around the Sustainable Development Goals and greater country ownership. IMA contributes to these efforts by helping health systems provide effective facility- and community-based MCH packages. In South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, IMA works with communities to encourage antenatal care and deliveries at health facilities, where IMA-trained health care workers provide skilled attendance at birth. Health care workers provide basic Emergency Neonatal and Obstetric Care (EmNOC), providing women Active Management of the Third Stage of Labor, Pre-Eclampsia/Eclampsia Treatment, and manage post-partum hemorrhage.

For infants and children, IMA assists facilities in providing screening and treatment of newborn and childhood infections. IMA also helps Ministries of Health forecast, administer, and manage essential vaccines for childhood illness in DRC and South Sudan. At the community level, IMA encourages countries to roll out Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) at both the facility and community levels, where appropriate.

IMA is achieving transformative results in many of its MCH programs, which operate in some of the toughest environments in Africa.

In South Sudan, IMA helped increase uptake of life-saving measles vaccinations from 20 percent to more than 72 percent in Jonglei, for example. In Upper Nile State, more than double the number of pregnant women are now accessing critical antenatal care (ANC) as a result of IMA’s work.

Our Projects

Access to Primary Health Care Project (ASSP) (2012-Present): IMA prioritizes delivering essential health packages that improve maternal, newborn, and child health for ASSP. Using a comprehensive approach, the project helps train healthcare workers in safe delivery, including delivery of emergency obstetric and neonatal care services. More than 293,000 births were attended by skilled health care worker as part of the project during 2013. IMA has provided folic acid and iron to more than 116,807 pregnant women. LLINs for anti-malarial prevention are routinely provided to pregnant women and children under 5 as well during mass distribution campaigns.

Global Fund Malaria Project (2012-2014): Working as a sub-recipient to long-time partner SANRU, IMA delivered essential malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment commodities in 38 health zones in eastern DRC. By the end of 2014, the project helped treat more than 1.4 million malaria cases and ensured nearly 270,000 pregnant women accessed at least two doses of IPTp. In addition, IMA implemented community-based malaria care at 58 sites,  helping community health volunteers diagnose and treat basic malaria, diarrheal, and acute-respiratory infections among children under five.

Global Fund Malaria Project (2011-2015): IMA helped reduce malaria case incidence in heavily-affected Jonglei and Upper Nile states through the provision of LLINs to pregnant women and households with children. IMA distributed more than 1 million LLINs through the program through community-based distribution and via antenatal care services at health facilities.

Emergency Health Services (OFDA) Jonglei and Upper Nile States Project (2014-present): With USAID OFDA support, IMA is working with partners to provide vital MCH and emergency health services through mobile clinics and outreach sites in Upper Nile and Jonglei. The project’s MCH services include increasing access to quality antenatal care, assisted labor and delivery, and provision of immunizations and other child health interventions. IMA also expanded its support to include mobile nutrition outreach to help identify children suffering from acute under-nutrition and providing them with restorative care. Key MCH achievements to date include distributing 4,716 LLINs, training 130 health care workers in reproductive health services, and providing UNFPA kits, oxytocin, and misoprostol at all 11 project sites.

Provision of Reproductive Health Services (UNFPA) Project (2014-2015): IMA helps vulnerable populations and internally-displaced persons access timely, effective, and quality reproductive health services in Jonglei State. The project provides new services through mobile clinics and outreach and through strengthening local capacity to implement the Minimum Initial Service Package for RH, including GBV and STI/HIV services. IMA also supports SRH outreach activities in partnership with community-based organizations or support groups. To date, more than 1,500 women have attended two or more antenatal care visits, with 90 percent receiving HIV counseling and testing.

Rapid Results for Health Project (2013-2014): IMA ensured that health care worker training and critical commodities for MCH services reached some of the most rural health facilities in this 24 County primary health care improvement project. The project provides vaccinations, antenatal care, Vitamin A dosing, distribution of LLINs and HIV/ AIDS screening as part of its overall MCH work. As a result, more than 2.1 million children under the age of five received outpatient healthcare services and half of all pregnant women attended all four antenatal care visits in one site, a dramatic increase. More than 325,000 children have received a measles or DPT3 vaccination through the program.

Integrated Vaccination Project (2014-2015): In support of UNICEF’s efforts to reach children in areas affected by conflict in South Sudan, IMA collaborated on focused, short-term vaccination campaigns. In September 2014, IMA, in partnership with UNICEF and international NGOs GOAL and Cordaid, implemented weeklong integrated immunization campaigns; these reach children under 15 years of age in six counties of Upper Nile State with vaccinations for measles and polio, while also providing Vitamin A, deworming, and screening for malnutrition. In the selected six counties (Baliet, Fashoda, Manyo, Renk, and Panyikang), 62,838 children 6 months to 15 years old were vaccinated for measles, 67,695 children 0 to 15 years old were vaccinated for polio and 22,281 children 6 to 59 months old received Vitamin A supplementation.