Health Research Program
Focus Areas: ACERS
Related Project: Acute Care and Emergency Referral Systems Project in Ghana The Kampala Slum Maternal and Newborn Health Project
The Health Research Program at the Global Health Science and Practice Technical Exchange (GHTechX), took place virtually from April 21 - 24, 2021. The GHTechX was free to attend, and open to anyone interested in the field of global health.

While this event has passed, a recording is available to all registrants. Click here to access the recording (you must be logged in to GHTechX to access).

The Health Research Program hosted a technical session on April 22 at 11:00 am EDT titled Arrive to Survive and Thrive: Strengthening referral linkages between health facilities for MNCH care in LMICs. The session is led by the Kampala Slum Maternal and Newborn health (MaNe) Project and Acute Care and Emergency Referral Systems (ACERS) Consortium.


Common reasons for emergency maternal and newborn health referrals in Ghana and Uganda include lack of capacity to manage MNCH cases either due to shortage of equipment/supplies, or inadequate capacity to perform major surgeries. Both Ghana and Uganda lack comprehensive policies and guidelines for coordination and communication between referring and receiving facilities during referrals. Two USAID-funded projects, Kampala Slum Maternal and Newborn health (MaNe) Project in Uganda and the Acute Care and Emergency Referral Systems (ACERS) Project in Ghana, are conducting implementation research to: A) establish emergency call (EC) and emergency dispatch centres (EDCs) to facilitate MNCH referrals; B) develop and test smartphone applications for initiating referral, tracking and deployment of ambulances, and providing feedback to referring facilities; and C) increase community demand for quality emergency obstetrics and newborn care. Preliminary findings indicate that EC and EDCs have: 1) the potential to improve referral coordination and accountability; and 2) appear feasible, acceptable and sustainable to health system managers. Moving forward, MaNe will work to integrate the ECs into existing health management information systems in Uganda, while ACERS will coordinate with the National Ambulance Service and Ghana Health Service to facilitate integration of the EDC approach at the district level.

Learning objectives:

  1. By the end of the presentation we want participants to identify and be able to address key considerations in development and use of smart phone application for improving maternal and newborn health referral system 
  2. By the end of the presentation we want participants to understand key considerations in establishment of an emergency call and dispatch centre to improve coordination and transportation of MNCH referrals


  • Dr. Daniel Okello Ayen, Director, Public Health and Environment Kampala Capital City Authority, Co-PI, MaNe Project
  • Dr. Mohammed Ali, Project Director and Co-PI,  ACERS Project


  • Dr. Yvonne Kidza Mugerwa, Project Director and Co-PI, MaNe Project
  • Dr. Koku Awoonor-Williams, Consultant/ACERS Project


  • Sara Sulzbach, Senior Research Advisor, USAID Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition