Contextual challenges in the implementation of the alliance for maternal and newborn health improvement, prospective cohort study, an experience from rural Pakistan

Yaqub Wasan, Shabina Ariff, Amjad Hussain, Sheraz Ahmed, Mansoor A. Abro, Imran Ahmed, Atif Habib, Sajid Bashir Soofi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Improving maternal and newborn survival needs robust data on patterns of morbidity and mortality from well-characterized cohorts. It is equally important for researchers to document and understand the contextual challenges of data collection and how they are addressed. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study implemented from December 2012 to August 2014 in Matiari, Pakistan. A total of 11,315 pregnancies were enrolled. Participants were approached at home for sequential data collection through the standard pretested structured questionnaires. Some indicators were sourced through health facility records. Information on field challenges gathered through field diaries and minutes of meetings with field staff. Results: Inaccurate reporting of last menstrual period (LMP) dates caused difficulties in the planning and completion of antenatal data collection visits at scheduled gestational weeks. We documented ultrasound reports wherever available, relied on quickening technique, and implemented a seasonal event calendar to help mothers’ recall their LMP. Health system coordinators of public sector and private healthcare providers were individually approached for maximum data collection. But an unregulated private health system with poor record maintenance and health care providers’ reluctance for cooperation posed a greater challenge in data collection. Conclusions: Within a broader understanding of the health systems and socio-cultural environment, temporal and spatial feasibility of data collection should be considered thoroughly at the early stages of study designing, planning, resource allocation, and implementation. Pre-defined regular and need-based meetings with each tier of data collection teams and study managers help to reinvigorate field execution plans and optimize both quantity and quality of study data.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalCentre of Excellence in Women and Child Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

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