20 December 2018

ICT Brief

AMDD, in collaboration with the Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH), has published a new brief on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and citizen-led accountability initiatives in health. The brief summarizes the main findings from a recent article published in Health and Human Rights Journal that examined the effectiveness of ICT interventions in promoting social accountability in three contexts. The brief is available here

8 December 2018


AMDD Associate Director Shanon McNab led a breakout session at the Black Mamas Matter Alliance's (BMMA) first Black Maternal Health Conference and Training Institute, which took place December 7-9 in Atlanta, GA. In the session, Ms. McNab shared lessons learned and preliminary findings from a community based participatory research project on women's experiences of maternity care in New York City and Atlanta. 

27 November 2018

ARTICLE In health and human rights 

AMDD's Marta Schaaf and colleagues from Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, Centro de Estudios para la Equidad y Gobernanza en los Sistemas de Salud (CEGSS), Nazdeek, the National Foundation for India, and the Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen have published a comparative case study in Health and Human Rights Journal entitled "Does Information and Communication Technology Add Value to Citizen-Led Accountability Initiatives in Health? Experiences from India and Guatemala." The article seeks to understand the value of ICT in social accountability, with a focus on maternal health. This practice-focused effort is a result of collaboration among members of the Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH). The full article is available via open access here.

26 November 2018

NYT Letter to the editor

AMDD Director Lynn Freedman, Associate Director Shanon McNab, and consultant Sang Hee Won respond to a recent article in the New York Times called "Mothers Are Dying. Does Anyone Care?" which highlights the ways mothers are devalued and disempowered in the US maternity care system. Read the full letter here

14 September 2018

AMDD at CityMatCH

AMDD's Associate Director Shanon McNab spoke on a panel at the CityMatCH conference in Portland, OR, about AMDD's research on women's experiences and systemic drivers of mistreatment during facility-based childbirth in the United States. Keeping in line with the conference theme of “Partnering with Purpose,” Ms. McNab described AMDD’s community based participatory research (CBPR) approach and shared some preliminary findings from the research. The panel was moderated by Deborah Kaplan of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and included presenters from the University of South Carolina, Utah Department of Health, and University of Texas at Arlington.

10 September 2018

Article in Reproductive health matters

Recent data from Tanzania shows that disrespect and abuse (D&A) during childbirth is normalized and internalized by patients and providers alike. AMDD Director Lynn Freedman and colleagues examine the complex role of power in shaping women's experiences of facility-based childbirth and describe the implications for the development of human rights-based approaches to exposing D&A and reducing maternal mortality in a new article in Reproductive Health Matters. The article, entitled "Eye of the beholder? Observation versus self-report in the measurement of disrespect and abuse during facility-based childbirth," is available here via open access . 

19 June 2018

RMC briefs available in FrEnch

AMDD's Respectful Maternity Care briefs, published in December 2017, have now been translated into French! Access the three briefs here:

29 May 2018

Commentary on CHWs and Accountability

A commentary written by AMDD and American University staff and a diverse group of colleagues was published last week in BMC International Journal for Equity in Health. The commentary is the result of a ‘think in’ held in June 2017, which brought together a group of practitioners and researchers to discuss the role of Community Health Workers (CHWs) as accountability agents. All commentary authors participated in the ‘think in’, and with expertise from a wide range of countries and disciplines, provided unique and rich perspectives on CHWs’ potential to carry out accountability functions. The commentary highlights some of the complexities of utilizing CHWs to advance accountability in the health system. While CHWs are often expected to be accountable to the communities they serve, their ability to do so is affected by a variety of factors, from power dynamics and their status within the health system to presence of support structures and opportunities for collective action. The commentary addresses some of these challenges and proposes several avenues meriting future research and policy attention. The open access article can be accessed here.

11 April 2018

NYT article on black maternal health

AMDD’s latest research on racial disparities in US maternal health and respectful maternity care was highlighted in a New York Times article on the impact of lived experience on birth outcomes for black women and infants in the US. The article, written by Linda Villarosa, identifies racism and toxic stress as key drivers behind the disproportionate rates of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity among black women, and presents research on systemic racism and disparate treatment of black women in the US healthcare system. Lynn Freedman, Director of AMDD, was quoted in the article, saying, “Disrespect and abuse means more than just somebody wasn’t nice to another individual person. There is something structural and much deeper going on in the health system that then expresses itself in poor outcomes and sometimes deaths.” Read the full article here

26 March 2018

Article on EmOC in Mozambique

Patricia Bailey, Senior Technical Advisor at AMDD, and colleagues have published an article entitled “Maternal death and delays in accessing emergency obstetric care in Mozambique” in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. The study utilized data from a national emergency obstetric care (EmOC) assessment to understand the relationship between delays in reaching and receiving health care and causes of maternal death in facilities. The assessment, which included 427 health facilities, identified 2,198 maternal deaths between November 2007 and January 2008, and maternal death reviews were completed for 712 of these deaths. Delays in reaching a facility, particularly due to referrals from a peripheral facility, were observed in more than 60% of women who died, while women who died of acute direct obstetric complications were more likely to have faced delays in receiving appropriate treatment. The authors concluded that investment in referral linkages and hospital and health center readiness is needed to lessen the impact of delays and reduce maternal mortality.  The full article is available via open access here.

16 March 2018


AMDD Director Lynn Freedman spoke on a panel about reducing disparities in maternal health care at the 9th Annual CUGH Conference in New York City. The panel was moderated by Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director of Merck for Mothers, and also included Deborah Kaplan, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Maternal, Infant, and Reproductive Health at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Aakash Ganu, CEO & Co-Founder of Almata, India. The discussion was highlighted on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Global Health Now blog, which can be accessed here.

12 March 2018

AMDD shares tools for measuring D&A

Tools for measuring disrespect and abuse (D&A) of women during facility based delivery are now available on the Respectful Maternity Care page of the AMDD website. The tools were developed in AMDD’s STAHA project, AMDD’s first study of D&A of women during facility based delivery. AMDD and Population Council were awarded the first grants to in Tanzania and Kenya respectively, to systematically study the types and prevalence of D&A among women giving birth in public facilities as well as root causes and consequences of disrespectful treatment. The tools have since been applied to research into the prevalence of D&A in other contexts.

17 February 2018

“10 best” article in Health Policy & Planning

A “10 best” article written by AMDD Deputy Director Marta Schaaf and colleagues has been published in Health Policy and Planning. The article identifies 10 top resources on power in health policy and systems in low- and middle-income countries. Power is a critical concept to understand and transform health policy and systems, but remains a neglected area of work. The resources in this article, which include frameworks, commentaries, and empirical work, provide an overarching conceptual exploration into how power shapes health policy and systems and how to investigate it, as well as examples of empirical work on power and health policy and systems research representing various levels of analyses, geographic regions and conceptual understandings of power. The article, entitled “10 best resources on power in health policy and systems in low- and middle-income countries,” is part of Health Policy and Planning’s “10 best” series, a series of articles that identify and outline the 10 most useful resources from a range of sources to help facilitate a better understanding of a particular issue in global health, and is available through open access here.

9 February 2018

RMC Briefs Available In Spanish

In December 2017, AMDD and the Global Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) Council released three new briefs on respectful maternity care. With the help of the White Ribbon Alliance, these briefs have been translated into Spanish! Access both the English and Spanish versions here: 

18 January 2018

AMDD and ARC publish Learning Exchange Report on CHWs

In June 2017, AMDD and the Accountability Research Center at the American University School of International Service hosted a two day “think-in” on Community Health Worker Voice, Power, and Citizens’ Right to Health. Over thirty researchers, practitioners, and civil society representatives from eight countries attended the think-in centered on the potential role of CHWs in health system accountability and the factors that enable or hinder their accountability functions. Following the meeting, participants collaborated on a report synthesizing the case studies, themes, and research agenda items discussed at the think-in. Read the full report here.

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