QUALMAT - Quality of prenatal and maternal care: Bridging the know-do gap

Staff members: 
Team members: 
Els Duysburgh, Wei-Hong Zhang
Team members: 
Els Duysburgh, Wei-Hong Zhang


The QUALMAT project is implemented by a consortium of 6 research institutions:

  • Heidelberg University, Germany (consortium coordinator)
  • International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH), Gent University, Belgium
  • Centre de Recherche en Santé de Nouna, Burkina Faso
  • Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana
  • Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania.




General objective

The main objective is to improve maternal and newborn health by raising the level of motivation of health care workers to provide high quality maternal and newborn care.



The project was designed as an intervention research project. In each of the three participating African countries, one intervention district and one control district were selected. The intervention consisted of the introduction of (1) performance based incentives to increase health workers motivation and (2) a computer-assisted clinical decision support system which will help providers to comply with established standards of care. In both districts the quality of maternal care was measured before, during and after the intervention, using a variety of methods being: review of patient records and maternal and child registers at health facility and district level, client-exit interviews, observation studies and health facility survey. ICRH was responsible for the quality of antenatal and childbirth assessment.


ICRH is in charge of the development and the implementation of adequate tools and systems for the monitoring and evaluation of the quality of antenatal and maternal care at the study sites.



  • To analyse the policies of the three intervention countries with regard to MNC quality improvement, salary structures, career paths, human resource development and retention.
  • To assess the technical and human dimension of quality of MNC as well as the strength and determinants of motivation of MNC providers.
  • To relate the costs of the interventions to their effect on quality improvement.
  • To develop a performance-based incentive package for raising health staff motivation and MNC quality.
  • To develop and validate a clinical decision support system and evaluate this tool.
  • To study the effect of performance based incentives and clinical decision support system on motivation and on MNC quality.
  • To engage policy makers from the start in view of generalization of the intervention to national scale.


Funding agencies: 
Project status: 
Project status: 
1 May 2009 – 30 April 2014
1 May 2009 – 30 April 2014
Ends on: 
Thursday, November 29, 2012