The workshop also discussed a number of thematic areas with a focus on West Africa. The areas included: inclusion of gender and equity in maternal, newborn, and child health services; conducive and limiting health system factors to improving mother, newborn, and child health; and situational analysis of knowledge transfer for mother, newborn, and child health.
The West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), a specialised agency of Economic Community of West African States, organized the workshop. WAHO is working with seven implementation research teams (IRTs) in West Africa to catalyze the use of evidence in national and regional maternal and child health policies. WAHO’s knowledge of health systems and reach of key stakeholders in the region fosters greater collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and complements the IRTs' efforts to integrate evidence into policies on improving maternal and child health.
The workshop, along with funding provided to WAHO and the IRTs, is part of the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) initiative. IMCHA is a seven-year (2014-2020), $CA36 million multi-donor partnership funded by Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and IDRC.
Improving maternal and child health is a significant challenge for many countries in West Africa. According to a World Health Organization report, Sierra Leone, Mali, and Nigeria, are among countries with the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Canada’s support through the IMCHA initiative aims to address these critical challenges.
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