The University of Iowa

Authored by Will Story


Essential care absent in impoverished world

In order to ensure that mothers and children are getting the care they need in resource-poor areas, they must have access to appropriate care as close to their home as possible. One successful strategy to address this need is the training of community-level health workers to provide home-based counseling for pregnant women and their families to address social and cultural barriers to facility-based childbirth as well as provide basic newborn care and referrals for sick newborns. A great example of this work was the development of an easy-to-use eToolkit, or digital library, to train field workers on a number of health-related topics, including maternal and newborn health. This program was led by the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative, which is directed by UI College of Public Health alumna Rebecca Arnold who helped develop and implement this project based on the skills and expertise she gained while completing her Master’s Degree in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health. Currently, the department is partnering with organizations in Bangladesh and India to explore how to best engage families and communities to improve access to and use of maternal and newborn care.