Andrea Melberg: Exploring the interphases between global policies and local practices
Andrea Melberg is trying to create understanding on how global policies promoted to prevent maternal deaths are implemented in low-resource settings.
She is a medical doctor and PhD fellow at the Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Norway. Andrea Melberg is born and bred in Norway, but conducted a study of childbirth in primary care facilities in Burkina Faso as a member of the Medical Student Research Program. This study highlighted the tension between global goals and interventions in maternity health, and everyday care at health centres characterized by very limited resources. The study has so far resulted in two publications in international peer-reviewed journals.
Andrea’s current PhD research has a wider and in-depth look at the issue she already investigated during her first study. Dubbed as "Policy and power: The dynamics of maternal mortality and institutional births in the era of global goals”, this study explores the articulation between the global and national institutional policies, local health systems and the socio-cultural conditions of people’s lives. It aims to expand our understanding of the process of policy implementation by drawing on a case study from Burkina Faso and one on the Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Report System in Ethiopia.
The fact that still every year 303,000 mothers and 2.7 million newborns die during birth makes Andrea’s study of great relevance. The majority of maternal and neonatal can be prevented with well-known medical interventions such as access to blood transfusions and c-sections when needed. To implement the interventions already know are working emerges as a key priority to improve maternal and newborn health. An increased understanding of how global policies and local practices influence each other is needed for improved policy implementation and to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality in low-resource settings.
Apart from her research, Melberg is contributing to teaching on qualitative research methodology at CIH’s Masters programme in International Health.
Why is it so difficult to report maternal deaths?
A thought-provoking paper by PhD candidate Andrea Melberg and colleagues underlines how the politicisation of global health initiatives affects the ways in which knowledge about important health indicators is produced.