PhD Defense and Symposium: Interventions for Maternal and Newborn Health in Low-Resource Settings: How to take account of context? – University of Copenhagen

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Interventions for Maternal and Newborn Health in Low-Resource Settings:

How to take account of context?

PhD Defense and Symposium

Date: 16th January 2019, 12.30-19.00 

Venue: Medical Museion, Bredgade 62, 1260 Copenhagen, Denmark

Globally, 300,000 women and 5 million babies die each year around birth. The vast majority of deaths occur in the world’s poorest countries. With proper care, most would survive. However, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, while facility births are increasing, quality of care often does not follow. Generating evidence-based, safe and respectful care at birth is, therefore, a key priority to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (targets 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 3.2 and 5.1).

 As a response, the international community’s production of clinical guidelines for maternal health and related interventions is extensive. Meanwhile, focus is increasing on how discrepancies with contextual realities in under-resourced health systems may limit implementation and effectiveness. The global community calls for context-appropriate interventions and implementation strategies. However, two key issues are vital to address:

How do we ensure context appropriate interventions at the global level?

How can grassroots level stakeholders influence how problems and solutions are framed globally?


Part I: PhD defense

Assisting Birth Attendants in Providing Acceptable Care under Unacceptable Clinical Realities - The PartoMa Intervention Study at Zanzibar’s Tertiary Hospital

 PhD student: Nanna Maaløe

 Scientific opponents:

  • Ingeborg Christina Rørbye Lundin (chair)
  • Olufemi Oladapo
  • Birgitta Essén

 Academic supervisors:

  • Ib Christian Bygbjerg
  • Jos van Roosmalen
  • Tarek Meguid
  • Birgitte Bruun Nielsen
  • Britt Pinkowski Tersbøl

12.30-13.15:   Presentation by Nanna Maaløe

13.15-13.20:   Short break

13.20-15.20:   Discussion of the PhD by the scientific opponents

15.20-16.00:   Coffee and cake

Part II: Symposium

How do we ensure context appropriate interventions on the global level? -and how can stakeholders on the grassroots level influence how problems and solutions are framed globally

Chair: Thomas van den Akker

16.00-16.05:   Introduction by Thomas van den Akker

16.05-16.20:   Olufemi Oladapo: WHO global recommendations on intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience

16.20-16.35:   Birgitta Essén: Maternity care for women from low-resource settings in high-income settings - Context and evidence-based Top 10 recommendations 

16.35-16.50:   Tarek Meguid: Changing Context through Context Appropriate Efforts in Maternal and Child Health - A Human Rights Riddle

16.50-17.35:   Panel discussion

17.35-17.45:   Closing remarks by Ib Christian Bygbjerg

17.45-19.00:   Reception

Organizers: University of Copenhagen

For a summary of the PhD thesis and more information about the PartoMa study, please see the study website.

Key speakers:

Birgitta Essén is professor at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, and senior consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Uppsala University Hospital. The overall aim of her research is to investigate how maternal and perinatal morbidity is linked to socio-cultural factors. In order to develop tools for comprehensive reproductive health services to women in unprivileged situations, her current activities include analysis of sexual and reproductive ill-health in both low-income and high-income settings. Further, a migration perspective is utilised to bridge these two settings together so that knowledge e.g. on maternal mortality in Africa can be used in a migration context in Sweden, and vice versa.
Olufemi Oladapo is a maternal, perinatal and newborn health research and public health expert in the Maternal and Perinatal Health team, at The UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, WHO. He qualified as an obstetrician-gynaecologist in Nigeria and also holds a master’s degree in public health. At WHO, he provides managerial and technical leadership in research, evidence synthesis, and guideline development to improve global maternal, perinatal and newborn health.
Tarek Meguid is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Chief Medical Officer at Village Health Works in Kigutu, Burundi, where he plays a leading role in the planning and construction of a maternity hospital aiming to provide compassionate, respectful high quality health care to the local economically poor community. He has worked in Sub-Saharan Africa for more than 20 years, including four years at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar. He was a member of the UN’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG) on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s health (MDG 4 & 5). Apart from holding a master’s degree in Maternal and Child health from the University of Cape Town (UCT), he holds a bachelor’s degree in law, from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University (OU), UK. He has been visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), USA and associate professor at the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA).
Nanna Maaløe is a medical doctor and currently a clinical trainee in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Through the University of Copenhagen, she has been the Primary Investigator of the PartoMa study in Zanzibar since 2014 (the PartoMa study website [link:]). She has previously carried out research in the rural Kagera region of Tanzania on quality of care at birth - and she has been engaged in clinical medical work in Tanzania and Denmark.