• Antenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of imminent preterm birth – A policy and implementation landscape analysis 22-07-2016

This report presents the findings of a recent policy and implementation landscape analysis on the use of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) for women at risk of preterm birth. The landscape analysis was requested by the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children’s Health and conducted by the USAID/Washington- funded Every Preemie—SCALE project. The analysis covered the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries plus Senegal were established as ‘Pathfinder’ countries when, in 2013, they developed national plans to implement the UN Commission’s recommendations for increase access to life-saving commodities for women and children.

ACS is one of thirteen life-saving commodities identified for maternal, newborn, and child health by the UN Commission, and is included in the World Health Organization (WHO) Recommendations on interventions to improve preterm birth outcomes, 2015.

To gather data and information about ACS use in the Pathfinder countries, during April/May 2016, the Every Preemie team used both primary data from key informant interviews, and secondary data gathered from publically available sources, including national standard treatment guidelines, in all countries with the exception of Senegal2.

Findings highlight the use of ACS in each of the seven countries and emphasize elements of health sector readiness, the level of care where ACS is being used, providers who are authorized to prescribe and/or administer ACS, health provider training, and the availability of critical maternal and newborn health care services. Key informants also offered further insights into opportunities for and challenges to expanded ACS implementation. While the analysis did not allow scrutiny into the actual scale or quality of implementation, it does provide valuable information regarding the framework for implementation in these seven countries.

 The annexes to this report are available here