Strengthening Private Health Facilities to Improve LIfe-Saving Care for Mothers and Babies

Oct. 28, 2021

Practical session on post-partum care during the PIHI training in Cotonou.

Practical session on post-partum care during the PIHI training in Cotonou. Photo provided by Karamatou Bangbola, © PSHPA, MCDI.

Since 2019, MCD International (MCDI) has supported the Ministry of Health to strengthen Beninese capacity to improve the quality standards and increase the quantity of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) products and services offered by the private health sector in Benin. This effort is within the framework of the USAID Private Sector Health Partnership Activity (PSHPA) project, and in partnership with Abt Associates as the prime implementing partner.

In addition to working to increase the availability of affordable, quality health products, such as malaria commodities and modern contraception methods through private sector channels, and promoting public-private engagement to achieve universal RMNCH outcomes, the project also works to expand the offering of quality, high-impact RMNCH services delivered by private-sector providers. To this end, the project continuously builds the human and institutional capacity of registered Private Health Facilities (PHF) across Benin.

The project’s multi-faceted and multi-level capacity building includes in-person service delivery trainings, online training, post-training follow-up supervision, and on-the-job training for private health care providers, all in conjunction with the Ministry of Health as the steward of health care quality in Benin.

Service delivery training

Using a participatory methodology, providers identify problems they encounter during their work and propose solutions using the latest evidence-based approaches (the Helping Babies Breathe curriculum, etc.).

Facilitators then use technical tools, such as job aids, to bring participants up to speed. There have been 253 providers from PHFs trained in high impact RMNCH service delivery interventions as of June 30, 2021.

Post-training follow-up supervision

Following the service delivery training, participants receive post-training follow-up visits on site to ensure that the knowledge acquired during the 10 days of training is being implemented at PHFs.

Supervision teams made up of specialists, such as gynecologists, pediatricians, and midwives, visit the PHFs where the trained providers work.

The post-training follow-ups are great opportunities to reinforce skills on the job. By providing direct and sustained observation, accredited MoH supervisors identify areas for improvement, and coaching is provided using a team-based approach to care. Other providers who work on site, such as health aides, are also included in the hands-on, on-the-job training on priority PIHI topics, which improve the survival of mothers, their babies, and children under 5 seeking care in the private health sector.

Additionally, in order to enhance the value of in-person and on-site training and maintain motivation among trained providers, the USAID Private Sector Health Partnership Activity has delivered training certificates to private providers.

The project’s continuous capacity building and quality improvement approach finds its dynamism in its ability to enroll providers who were not formally trained in service delivery, but were found on site. Indeed, the post-training follow-up visits are opportunities for providers who were not previously trained off site to benefit from on-site technical support.

Provider testimonials demonstrating the potential results of trainings

Post-training follow-up supervision and on-site briefing.

Post-training follow-up supervision and on-site briefing at a private health facility in Cotonou. Photo provided by Karamatou Bangbola, © PSHPA, MCDI.

"Since the adoption of this approach, several providers trained in service delivery have expressed their satisfaction and, above all, noted significant changes that the project’s high impact service delivery training has brought to their daily lives as practitioners with generous support of U.S. residents through USAID." — Irma, midwife, private maternal-child health clinic, Godomey

"The training was very enriching; it is a high level refresher course, and the skills we learned will be very beneficial in the management of obstetrical and neonatal emergencies and consequently will reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. This training came at the right time. I suggest that it be sustained and extended to all private clinics in Benin because we have the impression that we are often forgotten. With this start-up, we take our hat off to USAID and the Ministry of Health. We leave here with a great deal of satisfaction." — Juliette, midwife, administrator of the St. Gérard Clinic, Vossa, Cotonou

strengthening health systems