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DFID South Africa Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH) Programme

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From 2012 to 2015 SDDirect was a core partner in the consortium that successfully delivered DFID’s Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality (RMCH) programme in South Africa. The programme worked with poor urban and rural women, adolescent girls and pregnant teenagers, women and girls affected by violence, and vulnerable and undernourished children, to empower them to hold the district-level health system to account and secure access to quality MCH services.

Funded by DFID, RMCH was a 3-year partnership with South Africa‘s National Department of Health (NDOH). The consortium also consisted of Palladium (formerly GRM Futures Group), Health Systems Trust and Save the Children UK. SDDirect was the lead technical partner for the community demand and accountability component of the program. This role included participation the design, management, monitoring & evaluation, and capacity building support for a civil society grantmaking facility.

One of the most important components of the programme was documentation of practical innovations and improvements in community demand and accountability for quality MCH services. Contributions made by the SDDirect team included:

  • Providing RMCH civil society grantees with useful tools and guidance to capture lessons, models and policy implications from their district-level work.
  • Facilitating ‘networks of learning’ among grantees and other stakeholders as well as rapid cycle research and analysis of issues like teenage pregnancy, the role of culture and traditional beliefs, malnutrition and the drivers of child mortality.
  • Building on dialogue and research around negative attitudes and behaviors of health workers towards teenage girls, to create the Health Workers for Teens initiative. As part of this initiative, SDDirect worked with partners to develop and test a training module that shows real promise in shifting public sector cultures that disadvantage girls in accessing empathetic, quality health care in district facilities.
  • Convening capacity development workshops to promote the ‘Partner-Defined Quality’ approach to joint multi-stakeholder monitoring and problem-solving at the district level.

Photo credit: RMCH website