Acute Care and Emergency Referral Systems (ACERS)

Developing Acute Care and Emergency Referral Systems (ACERS) Project

The Acute Care and Emergency Referral Systems (ACERS) Project is a three-year, USAID-funded implementation research and capacity building project that aims to contribute to the improvement in  maternal and newborn survival rates by increasing care-seeking behavior, strengthening emergency referral and dispatch systems, and providing high quality emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) services in the Northern and Oti Regions of Ghana.
ACERS is implemented in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ghana National Ambulance Service (NAS), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Columbia University (CU) sidHARTe - Strengthening Emergency Systems Program (sidHARTe) Mailman School of Public Health, and University of Ghana Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS). As an official program of the Government of Ghana, ACERS is fully integrated into the GHS’ Community Health and Planning Services (CHPS) program as well as GHS health centers and district and referral hospital system to streamline EmONC services in each cadre of care.
The project will study how current GHS interventions are strengthened by data driven process documentation and used to improve EmONC outcomes in rural Northern and Oti districts. The ACERS program will also leverage an innovative intervention connecting the Ghana Health Service’s sub-district focused routine Community Emergency Transport System work with emergency referral strengthening approaches through partnership with NAS. Lessons learned from evidence-based programs including the Upper East Region’s Sustainable Emergency Referral Care (Sustainable Emergency Referral Care (SERC) program will also be used to inform replication and scale up in study districts.
Using a socioecological approach by improving the client experience throughout the continuum of care from home to facility and back home through implementation research will help us to understand the drivers and barriers to effective programming.  The research team will also determine the added value of acute care cascading capacity building at the community, sub-district, and district levels to ensure high quality care.
Project activities are designed to address the Three Delays in care with the aim of contributing to each of the following objectives:
  1. GHS EmONC programming is informed by the evidence generated from ACERS implementation research
  2. Pregnant women/neonates seek timely, affordable, and high-quality EmONC services
  3. Pregnant women/neonates receive, and caregivers provide high-quality, accessible emergency referral services informed by clinical and operational data
  4. Pregnant women/neonates receive a positive user experience that is driven by the provision of high-quality, timely, and definitive EmONC.
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