Community Mobilization Through Facilitated Participatory Learning and Action Groups for Maternal and Newborn Health in Buikwe District
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Background This project tested the Participatory Learning Action (PLA) cycle in mobilizing the community for improved maternal and newborn health. The project, promoted by the World Health Organization highlighted the importance of health promotion interventions that strengthen individual, family, and community capacity to contribute to improved health while addressing the quality of care in facilities in Buikwe District. Community mobilization was realized through facilitated participatory learning and action (PLA) cycles with women’s groups in rural settings with low access to maternal health services. Community mobilization through facilitated PLA cycles work by building the capacities of communities to organize and take action to address the social determinants of health that underpin maternal and newborn health. Objective The study aimed at reviewing the feasibility of community mobilization through facilitated PLA cycles for improved maternal and newborn health in Buikwe district Methods The PLA cycle follows a four- phase approach that involves joint efforts in identifying problems, solutions, implementing and assessing program impact together. Ten women from two sub-counties in Buikwe received training in the implementation of the PLA cycle within their communities. These facilitators then led women’s groups in utilising the PLA cycle to identify and address maternal and newborn health challenges in their communities Results A total of 15 women groups were formed which utilised the four phase PLA cycle in identifying and addressing maternal and newborn health challenges in Buikwe district. They generated several local health solutions and brought about an increased demand for maternal and newborn health services. Conclusion The PLA guide is an empowerment and advocacy tool for improved maternal and newborn Health. However, the integrated nature of this approach necessitates an understanding of priorities set in mobilizing communities, the role played by local leadership and the resources needed for improved maternal and newborn health.
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