Based on the realization that Uganda is not on track to achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, Makerere University School of Public Health in collaboration with other partners proposed to conduct two community based maternal/newborn care interventions aimed at increasing access to health facility care through transport vouchers and use of community health workers to promote ideal family care practices. Prior to the implementation, a stakeholder analysis was undertaken to assess and map stakeholders’ interests, influence/power and position in relation to the interventions; their views regarding the success and sustainability; and how this research can influence policy formulation in the country.
A stakeholder analysis was carried out in March 2011 at national level and in four districts of Eastern Uganda where the proposed interventions would be conducted. At the national level, four key informant interviews were conducted with the ministry of health representative, Member of Parliament, and development partners. District health team members were interviewed and also engaged in a workshop; and at community level, twelve focus group discussions were conducted among women, men and motorcycle transporters.
This analysis revealed that district and community level stakeholders were high level supporters of the proposed interventions but not drivers. At community level the mothers, their spouses and transporters were of low influence due to the limited funds they possessed. National level and district stakeholders believed that the intervention is costly and cannot be affordably scaled up. They advised the study team to mobilize and sensitize the communities to contribute financially from the start in order to enhance sustainability beyond the study period. Stakeholders believed that the proposed interventions will influence policy through modeling on how to improve the quality of maternal/newborn health services, male involvement, and improved accessibility of services.
Most of the stakeholders interviewed were supporters of the proposed maternal and newborn care intervention because of the positive benefits of the intervention. The analysis highlighted stakeholder concerns that will be included in the final project design and that could also be useful in countries of similar setting that are planning to set up programmes geared at increasing access to maternal and new born interventions. Key among these concerns was the need to use both human and financial resources that are locally available in the community, to address supply side barriers that influence access to maternal and child healthcare. Research to policy translation, therefore, will require mutual trust, continued dialogue and engagement of the researchers, implementers and policy makers to enable scale up.