IFGH 2012: Innovative Participatory Health Education ‘IPHE’ : an Approach to Capacity Strengthening for Researchers and Policy Makers

January 29, 2012

Authors: Elmusharaf K.1’2, O’Donovan D.2

Author Affiliations:1Reproductive & Child Health Research Unit ‘RCRU’, University of Medical Sciences &Technology, 2  National University of Ireland Galway

Option 2 –Lessons from the field; project and programme evaluations; and syntheses or analyses

Presented as – Oral Poster


Researchers and policy makers rarely demonstrate evidence of addressing the social and cultural contexts in the planning for accessible maternal health care services that can reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.


We designed and conducted an Innovative Participatory Health Education Project ‘IPHE’. In which 12 Masters Student researchers worked together with 2 employees of local NGOs, 10 local women, and 10 local theatrical band members in Renk County – South Sudan to identify the important maternal health issues in their community. They developed context-friendly materials and delivered it to a local community in the form of pictograms, songs, and drama.

A parallel training workshop was conducted on Reproductive Health Project Management that targeted 10 senior officers in Renk County to strengthen their capacity to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate reproductive health projects. They used the list of maternal health issues generated by the IPHE participants to develop two reproductive health project proposals. In the last day of the workshop the local people and senior officers were brought together to discuss maternal health issues in the area. The senior officers presented the two proposals to the IPHE participants who gave them feedback and comments.


A qualitative assessment at the end of this project demonstrated that the capacity strengthening for researchers happened during the process of developing, delivering and evaluating the educational materials. The senior officers said that this approach helped them to identify the maternal health issues through the lenses of the local population which will influence their future decision making.


This approach effectively advocated for maternal health, strengthened the capacity for researchers and policy makers, and engaged the community. The approach enhanced the contribution of marginalized communities to identifying needs, planning and designing future health services in a post conflict setting.


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