Fem HealthFEMHealth: assessing the impact of fee exemption on maternal health in West Africa and Morocco: new tools, new knowledge (2011-2013)

FEMHealth (Fee Exemption for Maternal Health care) is a consortium of 8 partner research institutions covering a wide range of disciplines and expertise. It is funded through the EU under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Focal countries for this work are Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, and Morocco, selected on the basis of having recently introduced national policies to reduce financial barriers for delivery or emergency obstetric care and of having expressed an interest, at policy-making levels, in the research goals.

FEMHealth Workshop, Benin

FEMHealth Workshop, Benin

The current evidence base regarding the impact of this policy has not been well developed, in part because of evaluation designs that are not able to capture all the necessary information for policy-makers to make informed decisions. However, this programme aimed to reduce this gap by developing research methodologies and tools that would lead to enhanced research on policy implementation, stronger evidence, and improved dissemination. LSHTM focus in Work Package 4 is the quality of care, health outcomes, and health policy.

Project objectives:

  • Develop new methodological approaches for the evaluation of complex interventions in low income countries;
  • Improve the health of mothers and their newborns by performing comprehensive evaluations of the impact, cost and effectiveness of the removal of user fees for delivery care on maternal and neonatal health outcomes and service quality;
  • Improve the communication of evidence to policy-makers and other stakeholders.
Gynaecology and Obstetrics Ward, Burkina Faso

Gynaecology and Obstetrics Ward, Burkina Faso

Key Outputs

  • A comprehensive multi-disciplinary understanding of the positive or negative impact of the policies on health outcomes for mothers and babies, quality of care, and access to emergency care in each of the countries;
  • Cross-country learning and recommendations generated on how to improve policies to remove user fees;
  • Methodological advancements in relation to health policy and financing tool, tools for mapping the effects of polices on the local health system, and the use of real case studies and near miss events;
  • A vibrant and growing regional community of practice, involving major stakeholders.

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