Impact of COVID-19 on maternal and child health services: A qualitative study of donors' perspectives

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2021

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Abstract

Background: Previous pandemics have shown that disruption of essential services could undo decades of efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality. Therefore, preventing disruption of essential services such as immunizations, skilled birth delivery, antenatal care etc. and safeguarding adequate sources of maternal and child health funding should be a key priority for governments and health donors. This study will aim to understand the impact of COVID-19 on maternal and child health services and how donors and policymakers are determining financing and policy priorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted with thirteen health experts from key bilateral and multilateral organizations and international NGOs. In addition to these interviews, relevant publications such as donor policies on their responses to COVID-19 were also reviewed and synthesized. Key informants provided written consent and all interviews were audio-recorded. Results: Governments across the world should increase their efforts to sustain essential health services for mothers and children. In addition, donors must provide greater support for weak health systems by granting extensions in loan repayments and providing technical assistance and essential supplies for health workers. Use of digital technologies, collaborative information sharing processes and flexibility in funding streams have been considered the best form of support that donors can provide. Conclusion: This study contributes to understanding the key role played by contemporary global health actors involved in formulating the initial policy responses and guidelines for countries during the COVID-19 pandemic on continuation of essential services such as maternal and child health. The findings can help understand the preliminary steps taken by the donor community to respond to the pandemic and can lay the groundwork to determine the future direction of financing and key health priority areas.

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Farooqi, Zoha Waqar (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on maternal and child health services: A qualitative study of donors' perspectives. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23165.

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