Kliniken &… Institute Heidelberger Institut… Groups & Projects Working Groups Research Qualmat Maternal Health

Health systems research

Human factors for quality improvement of pre-natal and maternal health services

Type of funding scheme: Collaborative Project

Summary: Quality is a term widely applied today in many aspects of health care, including the field of epidemiology, behavior sciences, health services, high technologies, and management. All of them may contribute to our understanding of how quality is produced, how it can be measured and how it can be improved. In the same time the lack of translation of this knowledge into optimal utilization of resources in health care is well recognized. The results are low effectiveness and efficiency of health services provided and low health status of population, especially in some sensitive sectors like pre-natal and maternal health care. This project specifically addresses current barriers and main strategies for the translation of the knowledge into health services of better quality particularly focused on the pre-natal and maternal health care.

The research is based on the hypothesis that weak inputs, lack of resources and lack of staff are not the only key barriers for quality improvement. The attitude of the staff vis a vis their clients and the attitude of the clients vis a vis the care provider are other key barriers.   Heath care providers have sufficient knowledge about how to provide effective and efficient health care to pregnant women and the new born, but do not apply this knowledge. Clients are often not satisfied by the service offered. Rather, our hypothesis is that there are two key factors that conjure to keep the quality of care in developing countries low:

(1) on the provider side lack of motivation and of incentives as well as of a proper process-oriented quality management and (2) on the consumer/user side a lack of patient/client voice, empowerment and rights.  This study will enables us to understand the reasons why this knowledge is not applied accordingly in order to improve health care and will help us to better understand the client’s perspective.  Our intention is to identify – together with local staff and local decision makers - new interventions for quality improvement, which will be implemented during the study period. The new interventions will mainly focus on staff motivation, responsibility, and performances, and will be related closely to patient preferences and patient satisfaction and community participation including legal aspects of the patient-provider relationship.

Additionally by identified monitoring tool with a set of indicators for measurement of changes in quality of delivered services will be possible to identify and to follow up the sustainability and effectiveness of the new strategies after their implementation according to the Millennium Development Goals.


For QUALMAT Flyer english (pdf file) - click here

For QUALMAT Flyer french (pdf file) - click here

QUALMAT Press release March 2010 - BMJ Award (pdf file) - click here