Transport and referral

Join our Community of Practice

Who are we?

Welcome to the Transport & Referral for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) Community of Practice (CoP).

We're a worldwide community who share one fundamental goal:

To advance transport and referral practices for mothers, newborns, and children in low- and middle-income countries.

By joining us, you will become part of a vibrant and passionate online community. We aim to bring you monthly webinars, opportunities for exchange and technical assistance, and a platform for members to discuss latest evidence and practices with leading experts. 

Join the Transport and Referral Community of Practice now → 

Pregnant woman in Chandanpur Clinic. Credit: Pieter ten Hoopen/The Lancet Maternal Health Series
Pregnant woman in Chandanpur Clinic. Credit: Pieter ten Hoopen/The Lancet Maternal Health Series

Key resources


Upcoming events

20 September - Enhancing Rural Ghana's Emergency Referral and Dispatch Systems through  Implementation Research 

1:00 - 2:00 pm BST

This webinar will focus on the work that was done in partnership with the Ghana National Ambulance Service to improve emergency referral and dispatch systems in Rural Ghana.

Full details and joining instructions


Event recordings

19 July 2023 - Addressing Emergency Referral in the EmONC Revisioning

"Continued Clinical Care During Interfacility Transfer" as a proposed new signal function

Over the last two years there has been a process of “Re-visioning EmONC” led by the AMDD program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health working with WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, LSHTM and many others. 

A key focus of the revisioning process has been to define signal functions for small and sick newborns and work on levels of care. There has also been a proposal to introduce a referral related signal function in recognition that a functioning referral system is an essential component of emergency obstetric and newborn care.


  • Professor Lynn Freedman, Director of AMDD, Columbia University 
  • Dr Peter Acker, Associate Prof Emergency Medicine, Stanford University

The proposed signal function on emergency referral is "Continued Clinical Care During Interfacility Transfer."

We have to work out a way of defining the signal function that is not too aspirational and unachievable for many low-income countries, but also realistic in terms of what women and newborns need to keep them alive and to prevent decompensation during referral. The added challenge is that continued care needs vary by condition, who is being referred, and length of journey. 

In this webinar Prof Lynn Freedman from AMDD explains what is meant by a signal function, what the purpose of a signal function is and how it links to indicators on referral readiness. 

Dr Pete Acker will present on behalf of members of the Community of Practice as well as a group of emergency physicians, obstetricians and neonatologists on why we think this is an important signal function and how we should define and measure it. 

Attendees had the chance to vote on proposed ideas for how to define and measure continued clinical care, and to give their input/suggestions. 


Event recording →

July 2021 - Maternity Waiting Homes

This webinar presented the results of two recent systematic reviews of maternity waiting homes in Low-to-Middle-Income Countries and has insights from a programme manager and district manager in Zambia. 


Event recording →

Maternity waiting home slides →

Policy brief Liberia → 

Policy brief Zambia →

June 2021 - Developing networks of health facilities for improving access to EmONC

Empirical evidence on improving access to EmONC in Sub-Sharan Africa was presented by:

  • Dr Michel Brun, Reproductive Health Advisor at the Sexual and Reproductive Health Branch, UNFPA
  • Jean Pierre Monet, Technical Specialist at the Sexual and Reproductive Health Branch, UNFPA
  • Dr Joseph Vyankandondera, Technical Specialist at UNFPA regional office for West and Central Africa

Event recording →

Event slides →

May 2021 - Time to update the three delays model from a women's empowerment perspective?

Professor Dame Tina Lavender (LSTM) and Valentina Actis Danna (LSTM) joined us to discuss a new prospective model of women’s health empowerment, which encourages active discussion of individualised birth plans and effective birth preparedness. 

Event recording →

Event slides →

Related projects

The OnTIME Consortium

The aim of this group is to contribute to global efforts to reduce maternal mortality by generating closer-to-reality assessments of geographic access gaps to critical maternal health services.

For details of this this project including recent publications please visit the OnTIME Consortium's website.

LSHTM contact: Dr Aduragbemi Banke-Thomas


Want to get in contact?