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Penn State University

The research program entitled, “Identifying Urban Transition Priority Areas for Mother and Child Interventions in Cape Town and Pune” has been granted by PSU. Activities have been started and implemented since January 2015.

Maternal and child health is an important indicator of a society’s investment in its future (Stenberg et al. 2014) and a goal of many international organizations and governments. Countries addressing mother-child health must continue to build capacity to collect high-quality data on inequities and intervention coverage (Requejo et al. 2014).

Besides the requirement for health system investments, a new global framework also emphasizes the necessity for interdisciplinary research into, and investments in, living conditions (Stenberg et al. 2014, Mason et al. 2014).
A major approach is to focus on mother-child interactions which specifically develop in urban environments (Holland et al. 2012).
This helps to avoid ineffective behaviors such as urban mothers relying on existing emergency systems while neglecting child health prevention.

South Africa exemplifies this situation. Care is delivered at the national and local levels with varying levels of access for the poor. For example, there are disparities in pediatric diarrhea-related mortality by district with a recent study identifying malnutrition as a major risk factor (Western Cape Government 2013).
This emphasizes the importance of accounting for multi-levels of variation in the analyses. Chopra et al. (2009) notes that greater local accountability is the key to success for mother-child improvements, especially in primary care and district hospitals.

Soto et al. (2012) found that including local planners in data collection and publication motivates them to strengthen their systems and request guidance. Our study has practical implications because it is focused on the local level.
The relevance of our approach is confirmed by other researchers (Jutting 2004; Nutley 2013; Sheppard et al. 2010) who find that local community-based organizations are better placed to harness information, monitor behavior, and enforce contracts as opposed to district-level institutions. 

 

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                                                                                          © Sudipta Arka Das

 

 

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