Taking First Embrace to Scale
Maternal and neonatal death rates are high in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, where access to skilled birth attendants is relatively high but compliance with appropriate antenatal care (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC) practices is poor. World Health Organization (WHO) essential protocols for reducing maternal and infant mortality are not extended into the communities or into the homes, where many women give birth. Government services are are delivered through separate, vertical, poorly-coordinated programs. HKI's First Embrace leverages appropriate technology, government and community partnerships, and data management systems to deliver an integrated package of antenatal and postnatal services at facilities and in homes. First Embrace approach equips facility-based and community-based staff to carry out the WHO protocols on active management of third stage of labor (AMTSL), essential newborn care (ENC), initiation of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), essential intra-partum and newborn care (EINC) and family planning (FP). It introduces the delivery of oxytocin through the UniJect device, a new technology that midwives can safely and easily administer to reduce hemorrhage and infection during delivery. First Embrace creates a unified data management system to ensure that life-saving actions are taken at every contact with the health system. HKI will work directly with the Department of Health, which will supplement the funding of the Local Government Units (LGU) of Iloilo and Cebu. The LGUs will contribute the manpower and logistics. The $1.9- million project will reach 408,447 women in Cebu and 264,205 in Iloilo.