Published: 03/27/2024

In a global effort to increase access to quality emergency care for mothers and newborns, Peter Acker, MD an associate professor of emergency medicine is helping to improve emergency referrals. 

Dr. Acker recently served as the sole emergency medicine physician on a community of practice working group to revise the Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EMONC) Needs Assessment Toolkit. The toolkit, developed by Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AAMD) at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, is employed across 80 countries to evaluate health facilities capacity to provide emergency care for sick mothers and newborns, but until now lacked a means to assess emergency referral and transport. 

Acker and collaborators conducted extensive research on emergency referral indicators, refining ideas and formulating a program for real-world testing. The AMDD team recently unveiled proposed updates to the EMONC tool that now includes measures focused on emergency referral readiness and emergency care during transport. The new measures, which enable health systems to evaluate their ability to refer mothers and newborns experiencing emergencies, are expected to profoundly impact global and maternal care, acting as a catalyst for governments and funders worldwide.

Cover photo credit: Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash