Objective: With support from the Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD) Program, CARE began the FEMME Project in 2000 to increase access and utilization of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) services for the approximately 48,000 pregnant women in the northern provinces of Ayacucho.
Methods: The project targeted 5 facilities with a comprehensive package of interventions designed to improve capacity to provide quality EmOC services and to promote a human rights approach in health care. Key program activities included improvements in infrastructure, human resources capacity development, development of service standards and protocols, quality improvement activities, and promoting a rights-based approach to health.
Results: By the end of the project, northern Ayacucho had 6 functioning EmOC facilities: 3 comprehensive (including a non-FEMME project facility) and 3 basic. This exceeds the UN minimum recommendation of 5 EmOC facilities per 500,000 population. Other changes in the UN process indicators indicate an increase in quality and utilization of EmOC services. Met need for EmOC increased significantly from 30% in 2000 to a high of 84% in 2004. Case fatality rates declined and the number of maternal deaths in the entire region declined.
Conclusion: CARE's work in Ayacucho made an impact on policies and programs related to EmOC throughout the region. Within CARE, project experiences have supported maternal health programs particularly in the Latin American/Caribbean region.