2021
2021

Developing a common understanding of Networks of Care

A collection of articles about the essential but often inactive or fragmented networks that connect patients to care in low- and middle-income countries is out now in a special issue of Health Systems & Reform Journal. CHAI and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, together with policy and implementation experts, put it together to develop a common understanding and vocabulary for Networks of Care.

New term for a familiar concept

All clinical care is conducted in the context of a network, whether among doctors and nurses at the same hospital, or vertically among facilities at different levels of care. When functioning well, these networks address critical gaps in the delivery of health services in the public and private sector by connecting the entire health system – from the home to the hospital – ensuring every patient has access to the good quality care they need, when and where they need it.

Too often in low- and middle-income countries, networks that are supposed to connect health services are disjointed and difficult to access, leading to poor quality of care and ultimately to preventable suffering and even death for patients.

Networks of Care save lives

Maternal and newborn service delivery provides excellent examples of the capabilities of an effective healthcare network. In Northern Nigeria CHAI implemented an integrated maternal, newborn, and reproductive health program across three states, covering a population of about 10 million people. Within 12 months of implementation, neonatal deaths dropped by 43 percent, maternal deaths by 37 percent and stillbirths by 15 percent. Progress has been sustained and continued since.

With an implementation-focused framework that names, defines, and shares examples of Networks of Care that are working well, the global health community can adjust planning and activities to improve health systems efficiency and patient outcomes in the communities they serve.

Special issue: Developing a Common Understanding of Networks of Care

Special issue: Developing a Common Understanding of Networks Of Care

Case Studies: