Meet Dr Anteneh Asefa: PhD Alumni

Dr Anteneh Asefa chose the Nossal Institute for Global Health for his PhD because of the multidisciplinary mentorship and global network of health policy and systems research opportunities. After completing his PhD in 2020, Dr Asefa is now a Research Fellow at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp Belgium.

We asked Anteneh to share his experience of studying a PhD with the Nossal Institute.

Dr Antenah Asefa

Why is Public Health Important?

Public health is working towards making people enjoy their health and lives, it is about equitable health and serving the underserved. COVID-19 has taught many why and how health is intertwined globally. A health problem in one part of the world cannot just be confined there, its impacts are everywhere and thus, global partnership and solidarity is extremely important.

Research Title: Improving respectful maternity care in Ethiopia: Health System constraints and mitigation approaches

Why did you choose your research topic?

Despite tremendous efforts and investment in health in Ethiopia, the proportion of women who give birth in health facilities was gradual at best. I wanted to research the key barriers to the uptake of facility-based childbirth. I aimed to explore the constraints to high-quality childbirth services using the lens of health systems research and test potential interventions that could be taken to improve respectful maternity care.

What achievement are you are most proud of?

My research has influenced policy in my home country of Ethiopia. I engaged with key policy stakeholders both during and after my PhD candidature. As a result, the intervention packages tested in my PhD study have been used to inform respectful maternity care scale-up in Ethiopia. I continue to be actively engaged in policy advocacy initiatives—supported by the Population Reference Bureau—to further the respectful maternity care agenda in the country’s policy network.

What was most surprising to you about your PhD study?

COVID-19! It managed to be the guest of honour in my thesis and claiming taking a couple of paragraphs. Respectful maternity care cannot be realised without a well-functioning and resilient health system; however, COVID-19 disrupted health systems globally threatening the gains that have been made in promoting respectful maternity care.

Read Dr Asefa published papers.

  1. Asefa A, Semaan A, Delvaux T, Huysmans E, Galle A, Sacks E, et al. The impact of COVID-19 on the provision of respectful maternity care: Findings from a global survey of health workers. Women and Birth. 2021; doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2021.09.003. https://www.womenandbirth.org/article/S1871-5192(21)00154-2/fulltext
  2. Asefa A. Unveiling respectful maternity care as a way to address global inequities in maternal health. BMJ Global Health. 2021; 6:e003559 https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/1/e003559.long
  3. Asefa AMcPake B, Langer A, Bohren MA, Mornan A. Imagining maternity care as a complex adaptive system: understanding health system constraints to the promotion of respectful maternity care. Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters. 2020; 28:1, e1854153. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/26410397.2020.1854153
  4. Asefa A, Morgan A, Gebremedhin S, Tekle E, Abebe S, Magge H, Kermode M: Mitigating the mistreatment of women during facility-based childbirth: Evaluation of respectful maternity care intervention in Ethiopian hospitals. BMJ Open. 2020;10:e038871 https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/9/e038871.long
  5. Asefa A, Morgan A, Bohren MA, Kermode M. Lessons learned through respectful maternity care training and its implementation in Ethiopia: An interventional mixed-methods study. Reproductive Health. 2020; 17:103. https://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12978-020-00953-4
  6. Asefa A, Morgan A, Hailemariam T, Shiferaw M, Mekonnen E, Birhan Y. Task shifting of emergency caesarean section in south Ethiopia: are we repeating the brain drain? Pan African Medical Journal. 2020; 36:145. https://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/36/145/full/
  7. Asefa A, Gebremedhin S, Messele T, Letamo Y, Shibru E, Alano A, et al., Mismatch between antenatal care attendance and institutional delivery in south Ethiopia: A multilevel analysis. BMJ Open. 2019; 24;9:e023408. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e024783.long

For Dr Anteneh Asefa's latest research visit his  ORCID page or follow him on twitter