International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 114 (2011) 218–222.

Global disparities in maternal and newborn health represent one of the starkest health inequities of our times. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have historically played an important role in providing maternal/newborn health services in African countries. However, the contribution of FBOs in service delivery is insufficiently recognized and mapped. Objectives: A systematic review of the literature to assess available evidence on the role of FBOs in the area of maternal/newborn health care in Africa. Search strategy: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for articles published between 1989 and 2009 on maternal/newborn health and FBOs in Africa. Results: Six articles met the criteria for inclusion. These articles provided information on 6 different African countries. Maternal/newborn health services provided by FBOs were similar to those offered by governments, but the quality of care received and the satisfaction were reported to be better. Conclusion: Efforts to document and analyze the contribution of FBOs in maternal/newborn health are necessary to increase the recognition of FBOs and to establish stronger partnerships with them in Africa as an untapped route to achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

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