By moving advocacy online and analysing the political and economic landscape, coalitions can rapidly adapt and identify new opportunities for influencing decision-makers to prevent women and babies dying from the indirect effects of COVID-19.
On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. National governments are responding to the outbreak, with resources for health systems being reprioritised and measures taken to identify new cases and control the spread. Meanwhile increased demand is starting to affect availability and quality of health services. This is expected to impact health systems and is likely to significantly increase maternal and neonatal health (MNH) morbidity and mortality.
To respond to this changed environment, our team has undertaken a rapid assessment of the potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on MNH services, decision making and accountability. This was followed by an analysis of how this changed environment impacts the Evidence for Action-MamaYe (E4A) project’s theory of change and results framework.
This framed discussions of available evidence of how COVID-19 impacts the change that E4A aims to achieve, with our team identifying key interventions. Our resulting strategic response is summarised in figure 1.
An Immediate response
This fast changing MNH landscape requires a combination of immediate and mid-term interventions. Immediate advocacy is needed to make sure the implications for MNH services is understood and acted upon by decision makers.
We are therefore providing our coalitions with rapid support with the development and targeting of evidence- based advocacy messages with clear asks to government on the protection of MNH services and how to address new barriers faced by pregnant women.
We have redesigned and reprioritised our interventions during coming months to meet changing needs. Our response will however remain flexible and adaptive, as the COVID-19 epidemic moves from its immediate emergency response phase to transition (restoring access to basic services) and recovery (where mid/long term health and economic recovery priorities are agreed).
To find out more on our capacity-building work or to collaborate, write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org