Home > Soapbox Updates > Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Zanzibar

Towards the end of 2013 we reported on the partnership formed between Soapbox, WaterAID, the Zanzibar Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) and the Pemba Public Health Laboratory (PPHL) in Zanzibar. The aim of the partnership was to assess the quality of healthcare services and the state of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and infection prevention and control (IPC) in maternity units in Zanzibar. Soapbox’s role was to provide coordination and technical assistance throughout the assessment; the results of which are expected to assist planners in designing appropriate WASH services and IPC to reduce maternal and newborn infection related health risks in health facility maternity units.

Soapboxers Giorgia Gon and Dr Susannah Woodd recently returned from a trip to Zanzibar, the purpose of which was to meet with stakeholders, pilot data collection tools adapted from the WASH & CLEAN project, train enumerators and supervisors and prepare for data collection roll out.

Overall the trip was a great success. Feedback received from stakeholders was invaluable to the streamlining of the data collection tools and further development of the project. Following the piloting of the tools, data collectors and facilities are now poised for the data collection roll out which will see several facilities undergo an in-depth needs assessment, collecting both qualitative and quantitative data on the state of WASH and IPC, while the adapted WASH & CLEAN Facility Questionnaire will be applied to the remaining facilities.

In the longer term, the results of the partnership between Soapbox, WaterAID, MOHSW and the PPHL will help inform the design of a phased improvement plan to provide appropriate WASH, IPC and the quality of care in maternity units. The partnership is envisaged to contribute towards the wider improvement of quality of care and infection control systems which may also include the enhancement of health facility monitoring systems and the adoption of service guidelines.