Participatory Action Research to Address Barriers to Timely and Safe Maternal Health Services in Monrovia

In 2014, Redemption Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Monrovia, Liberia, became an Ebola holding center, ceasing all other inpatient activities due to an inability to contain the disease. When Redemption Hospital reopened inpatient services with IRC’s support, significantly fewer women were coming to deliver than prior to the outbreak. As the epidemic waned, the number of women seeking maternity services increased to the point where the hospital was unable to meet the demand. This was, in part, due to new infection prevention and control measures that had reduced the number of beds available. In this participatory action research, community members, such as pregnant women and hospital staff, created and analyzed their own knowledge to provide better understanding of what influences utilization of maternal health services following the Ebola epidemic. Collective action empowered participants, improved their relationships with one another, and allowed them to reflect on the emotional and physical impacts of Ebola. While many necessary changes for maternal health will require higher level action from government and international organizations, community members felt more confident about advocating for these changes.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.