Background: Between June 2011 and December 2016, the Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) initiative in Uganda and Zambia implemented a comprehensive approach targeting the persistent barriers that impact a woman's decision to seek care (first delay), ability to reach care (second delay), and ability to receive adequate care (third delay). This article addresses how SMGL partners implemented strategies specifically targeting the second delay, including decreasing the distance to facilities capable of managing emergency obstetric and newborn complications, ensuring sufficient numbers of skilled birth attendants, and addressing transportation challenges. Methods: Both quantitative and qualitative data collected by SMGL implementing partners for the purpose of monitoring and evaluation were used to document the intervention strategies and to describe the change in outputs and outcomes related to the second delay. Quantitative data sources included pregnancy outcome monitoring data in facilities, health facility assessments, and population-based surveys. Qualitative data were derived from population-level verbal autopsy narratives, programmatic reports and SMGL-related publications, and partner-specific evaluations that include focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Results: The proportion of deliveries in any health facility or hospital increased from 46% to 67% in Uganda and from 63% to 90% in Zambia between baseline and endline. Distance to health facilities was reduced by increasing the number of health facilities capable of providing basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services in both Uganda and Zambia-a 200% and 167% increase, respectively. Access to facilities improved through integrated transportation and communication services efforts. In Uganda there was a 6% increase in the number of health facilities with communication equipment and a 258% increase in facility deliveries supported by transportation vouchers. In Zambia, there was a 31% increase in health facilities with available transportation, and the renovation and construction of maternity waiting homes resulted in a 69% increase in the number of health facilities with associated maternity waiting homes. Conclusion: The collective SMGL strategies addressing the second delay resulted in increased access to delivery services as seen by the increase in the proportion of facility deliveries in SMGL districts, improved communication and transportation services, and an increase in the number of facilities with associated maternity waiting homes. Sustaining and improving on these efforts will need to be ongoing to continue to address the second delay in Uganda and Zambia.
Ngoma, T., Asiimwe, A. R., Mukasa, J., Binzen, S., Serbanescu, F., Henry, E. G., … Scott, N. A. (2019). Addressing the second delay in saving mothers, giving life districts in Uganda and Zambia: Reaching appropriate maternal care in a timely manner. Global Health Science and Practice, 7, S68–S84. https://doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-18-00367