The department will use the primary healthcare (PHC) approach to provide early and quality ante- and postnatal services as well as essential infant and child health services and nutritional advice. This will reduce the high maternal and child mortality rates in the country.
Because HIV poses challenges in pregnancy, health worker initiated counselling and testing will form part of all antenatal care. This will be geared to find problems early in the pregnancy. Where necessary, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) will start at 14 weeks of pregnancy.
The referral system for pregnant women, newborns and children with high risk conditions will be reviewed and strengthened to eliminate delays. An ambulance must be made available for emergency maternity and child cases to avoid delays in getting medical attention. Some facilities will have to be re-designed to include maternity waiting homes or rooms.
All maternity and neonatal facilities will have infection control measures in place. Regular training will be provided to healthcare workers.
Community healthcare workers will be used to conduct postnatal care home visits to identify problems with the mother and her baby.
The department will establish units for contraception and termination of pregnancy at all facilities.