Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 9

SAQ 9.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 9.1 and 9.2)

Write short definitions of the following terms and explain why they are important in how you approach the provision of postnatal care:

  • Continuum of maternal and child health care
  • Referral link.


The continuum of maternal and child health care is a way of thinking that reminds us that postnatal care is simply one phase within the context of your overall care of the people in the community where you work. So it is a reminder that the advice and care you offer prior to pregnancy may be just as important as the interventions or referrals you make after delivery, and that your care of the baby will continue through to childhood. Every stage and phase is as important as every other one in the continuum.

The referral link is best thought of as a two-way street between you and the higher health facility and back from the higher health facility to you. It suggests that the best care is when both of you are sharing and exchanging information. It works best when you take the trouble to get to know the health workers in the facilities in your area (and they know you), and when you also know precisely which facilities offer which types of health services.

SAQ 9.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 9.3 and 9.4)

You are making a referral of a very preterm baby and its mother, who already has three older children. You are extremely worried about the baby. Write a checklist for yourself of all the things you need to remember to do.


Your list probably looks something like the one below, but it may well have had some further additions:

  • Make sure that the mother and baby are wrapped up warmly (refer also to Sections 8.5 and 8.6 of Study Session 8).
  • Tell the mother (and family) that it is imperative that she and the baby go to a health facility. If you meet with resistance remind them of the seriousness of the risks to the baby without specialist care.
  • Check which health facilities offer specialist care for preterm babies and decide which one (if there is a choice) is the most easily and quickly accessible.
  • Check if the family can arrange transport. If not send one of them to a kebele leader to see if the community will help, including financial help if necessary (see Section 9.3.2).
  • While waiting for transport, write the referral note (if you can’t remember what it should include, see Section 9.3.1).
  • Check that there are family members who will look after the older children.
  • Check that there is no other impending emergency or care need, and if not, try to accompany the mother and baby to the health facility, or send a responsible adult with them.
  • If you cannot go yourself, remember to ask whoever is accompanying them to make contact with you on their return to confirm how the mother and baby are progressing.

Summary of Study Session 9