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Midwifery. 1998 Dec;14(4):199-206.

Quality of care in reproductive health programmes: monitoring and evaluation of quality improvement.


As 200 million women become pregnant every year, at least 30 million will develop life-threatening complications requiring emergency treatment at any level of society where they live. But it is a basic human right that pregnancy be made safe for all women as complications are mostly unpredictable. This requires reproductive health programmes which are responsive to women's and their families' needs and expectations on the one hand and enhancement of community participation, high quality obstetric services, and both provider collaboration and satisfaction on the other. Monitoring and evaluation of these facets need to be an integral part of any safe motherhood programme, not only to assess progress, but also to use this information for subsequent planning and implementation cycles of national programmes. Lessons learned from ten years' implementation of Safe Motherhood programmes indicate that process and outcome indicators are more feasible for short-term evaluation purposes than impact indicators, such as maternal mortality reduction. The former are described in this paper with relevant country examples. This is the third, and last, article in a series on quality of care in reproductive health programmes. The first (Kwast 1998a) contains an overview of concepts, assessments, barriers and improvements of quality of care. The second (Kwast 1998b) addresses education issues for quality improvement.

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