Reaching the Youngest Mothers to Save Lives

Maternal and Child Survival Program, USAID

In Madagascar, Nigeria and Mozambique the Maternal and Child Survival Program has been testing approaches designed to connect first time / young parents (FT/YPs) to health services.

Key lessons from these studies include:

  • Applying an approach that engages key influencers of young parents (particularly mothers and mothers-in-law) in addition to engaging FT/YPs directly.
  • Ensuring these individuals with significant influence over FT/YPs have accurate information about safe delivery, postnatal care (including postpartum FP for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy), and newborn care – while challenging attitudes and social norms that stigmatize FT/YPs.
  • Implementing an approach that also engages young fathers, addressing gender norms, building capacity for couple communication, and encouraging positive male involvement in postpartum FP and parenting.
  • Strengthening health system capacity to provide services that are friendly and attractive to adolescents and young people.
  • Using messaging to emphasize the benefits of health service use, particularly the reduction of risk to both mother and baby.