Partnership management, evaluation and learning

Sierra Leone, even before the Ebola outbreak, had some of the worst maternal and newborn health indicators in the world. The Improving Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health (IRMNH) programme reduced maternal and newborn deaths, and accelerated progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

Funded by the UK government, we provided support to the management of the IRMNH programme. We promoted effective information-sharing and coordination across the three implementing partners UNICEF, UNFPA and Marie Stopes Sierra Leone. We ensured a consolidated approach to programme monitoring, evaluation and reporting. We created and disseminated new evidence regarding sexual and reproductive health (SRH), particularly amongst adolescents and young people.

Our technical experts worked alongside staff in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to ensure that the IRMNH programme was integrated and aligned with the government’s Reproductive, Newborn and Child Health Strategy and the National Health Sector Strategic Plan 2010–2015. We were also instrumental in supporting the reinvigoration of the health management information system (HMIS). We provided support to ensure regular availability of quality data for IRMNH partner reporting and performance monitoring.

Project achievements

  • We supported the implementing partners to increase access to SRH services amongst young people. We undertook research to understand the barriers that young people face in accessing services, and the best ways of stimulating demand for SRH services for young people.
  • We supported the MoHS Facility Improvement Team to assess the readiness of facilities nationwide for Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services, including assessing each facility for compliance with infection prevention and control procedures.
  • We conducted regular HMIS data validation exercises and supported the government to undertake routine supportive supervision to districts and facilities to strengthen the quality of data collected.
  • After the Ebola outbreak, our technical experts provided critical coordination and secretariat support to the essential health services and information and surveillance pillars of the health sector steering group.
  • Despite the spread of Ebola across the country in 2014, the proportion of facilities submitting data to the HMIS was 80 per cent for the year.
  • Couple-years of protection and the percentage of women receiving a check-up in the first 24–48 hours after birth remained stable between 2013 and 2014 despite the impact of Ebola on attendance in health facilities.
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