New Signal Functions to Measure the Ability of Health Facilities to Provide Routine and Emergency Newborn Care

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Summary Points

  • Emergency obstetric care (EmOC) signal functions, reflecting health facilities’ capacity to respond to important obstetric complications, are widely used to construct indicators of service provision.

  • However, no signal functions are agreed for emergency newborn care (EmNC), except newborn resuscitation, or for routine non-emergency care for mothers and newborns.

  • Current large-scale facility survey efforts mainly collect data on the established EmOC functions, and two EmNC functions (newborn resuscitation and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV). Routine maternal or newborn care data are not regularly included.

  • We propose maternal and newborn signal functions, focussing on delivery and postnatal care, that could be used to characterize both routine and emergency care in health facilities.

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