Ethiopia has achieved remarkable success in reducing neonatal and maternal mortality in recent decades, but still has a very high neonatal mortality rate (29 deaths per 1,000 live births) and maternal mortality ratio (412 deaths per 100,000 live births). The country is among the 10 countries that account for 59% of global maternal deaths. Many of these deaths are preventable through proven, cost-effective interventions. The standard national surveys, including the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and UNICEF’s Multiple Indicators Cluster Surveys (MICS), do not collect data on many high impact intervention indicators; and, monitoring the utilization and coverage of these interventions is problematic. There are additional concerns that the reporting of events around delivery and immediate postpartum care is subjected to high recall bias and the cross-sectional DHS and MICS surveys that collect data based on the recall of events up to five years prior to survey date may have low reliability.
Utilizing a longitudinal study design, the PMA2020 Maternal and Newborn Health (PMA-MNH) study was conducted in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia with the following objectives:
- Monitor the use of proven, effective and cost-effective interventions and the practice of healthy behaviors aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Ethiopia, using the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s and the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health’s (FMoH) priority MNH indicators;
- Assess the validity of maternal recall of pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal care information over a six-month period;
- Evaluate the quality of maternal, newborn child health (MNCH) data and validate the information in the Family Folders, which are used by the FMoH as a routine data collection tool for documenting family-centered Health Extension Program (HEP) service activities; and,
- Evaluate the feasibility of conducting follow-up interviews on maternal, newborn health care over mobile phones instead of face-to-face.