Improving quality of care for mothers and newborns

The Maternal and Newborn Improvement Quality of Care (MANI-QC) project focuses on improving the quality of health services for mothers and babies in four counties in Kenya: Nandi, Kericho, Mombasa and Kwale.

Funded by UK Aid from 2019 to 2022, we are working with the Ministry of Health and other partners to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.

Our approach

The MANI-QC programme builds on the earlier work and achievements made by Options on the MANI programme in Bungoma County (2015 - 2018).

Our approach involves tailoring cost-effective and proven interventions from the MANI programme and scaling them up in four other counties to accelerate maternal and newborn survival.

The programme uses a health systems approach to improving quality of service delivery. The main components are:

  • Measuring the quality of emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) services using the bespoke Quality of Institutional Care (QuIC) approach for each county, using mobile technology.
  • Strengthening maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response systems
  • Building the skills and confidence of health professionals to manage obstetric and newborn emergencies through EmONC mentorship
  • Providing targeted health systems strengthening support to bolster interventions where strategic technical expertise and support can further our programme aims.


  • EmONC Readiness Assessment
    More facilities are able to provide the life-saving interventions needed to manage emergency obstetric and newborn care emergencies in each of the four counties by September 2020 compared to our baseline in July 2019. In the four focus counties, the percentage of health facilities achieving EmONC-ready status increased by 45%.
  • Skilled Birth Attendance Rate
    The proportion of pregnant women who sought skilled delivery services in health facilities in the 4 counties increased by 13%  after 2 years of implementation.
  • EmONC Mentorship
    285 mentees mentored from 119 facilities across the four counties by 33 mentors on managing Emergency Obstetric and neonatal complication.
  • Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR)
    4 county, 22 sub-county and 14 high-volume health facility MPDSR committees facilitated to conduct regular mortality reviews and implement actions to prevent future incidences. Upload of maternal and perinatal reviews improved significantly Maternal Death Reviews increased by 81% (6% at baseline and 87% at end of year 2). Perinatal death Reviews improved from zero (0) at baseline to 59% at March 2021 over the 2 years of implementation.
  • Health Systems Strengthening
    Kericho, Mombasa and Nandi counties supported to develop Facility Improvement Funds (FIF) Bills, which will ringfence funding for health services. FIF bill already passed in Nandi county.
  • Conducting blood drives to increase blood availability in Counties
    Over 50% of maternal deaths are a result of hemorrhage. We ran blood drives that collected 9,895 pints of blood to ensure blood is available for mothers who need it most.

Our experts

  • Sara Nam, PhD
    Sara Nam is a public health professional with close to 20 years’ experience providing technical assistance to and implementing health programmes and conducting research and programme evaluations. Sara is a qualified midwife, bringing technical expertise in the design and delivery of maternal and newborn health services, health planning and management, strengthening human resources and improving quality of care.
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