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National consultation on WHO safe childbirth checklist

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8 November 2018 – A national level expert consultation on WHO's safe childbirth checklist was organized in Islamabad on 1 November 2018, led by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, with support from the WHO country office in Pakistan. The key objective was to explore the potential of adapting the SCC tool and scaling up its implementation in our healthcare practices for mothers and newborns. The consultation brought technical experts on one page regarding significance of SCC as a quality of care tool and provided opportunity deliberate upon feasible mechanism of implementing SCC in clinical settings including use of technology for ease of reporting. The participants were also expected to explore opportunities for integrating SCC into pre-service and in-service training packages.

The experts included representation from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Pakistan, Midwifery Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, Pakistan Nursing Council, Academia (Health Services Academy) and development partners including United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, GIZ and Jhpiego. Dr Safi Malik, Director Programmes from Ministry welcomed the participants and reiterated the government’s commitments towards improving maternal and newborn health status in the country. He highlighted that provision of life-saving interventions alone is not enough to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality; coverage needs to be matched with improvements in the quality of care. Global WHO tools on quality of care must be implemented in its true letter and spirit to support frontline, facility-based health-care workers to prevent avoidable childbirth-related mortality and morbidity.

The experts at the meeting thoroughly reviewed the checklist and provided technical inputs to contextualize it for implementation at large scale in the country. Use of software application to replace paper-based reporting was also endorsed especially at primary and secondary level health care facilities. The participants proposed that official communication from the Ministry should be issued recommending addition of the SCC tool into curriculum and examination for both medical and paramedical institutions through the respective regulatory bodies. The tool was highly appreciated by all participants and they committed to support its implementation for preventing the avoidable morbidity and mortality among women and newborns of Pakistan.