The project has been launched by the Maternity, Child, Youth and Paediatrics Unit (MCYP) of NSW Ministry of Health.

HCA has partnered with Murawin Consulting (led by Carol Vale) to undertake a two year evaluation to investigate the reach, impact and cost of the NSW Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Services (AMIHS) Program since it was established over 15 years ago. The evaluation will focus on the program’s impact on Aboriginal babies and their mothers and seek to identify the critical success factors in the various models that have been implemented over time across the State.

More information about the AMIHS program can be found here.

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Latest project activities

  • Document review completed 2017 (Component 1)
  • Survey of managers completed 2017 (Component 2)
  • Case studies and stakeholder interviews underway (Components 3 & 4)
    • Broken Hill completed November 2017
    • Parkes completed February 2018
    • Newcastle currently underway
    • Coffs Harbour – date to be confirmed
    • Nowra – April 2018
    • Griffith – May 2018
  • Quantitative analysis of the AMIHS Data Collection (AMDC) and Maternal and Child Health Register (MCHR) currently underway (Component 5)
  • Economic evaluation (Component 6) methodology currently underway.

Purpose of the evaluation

The evaluation of AMIHS

This overall evaluation will investigate the following key areas:

  1. What are the different ways AMIHS is being delivered, at state and local levels?
  2. What are the views of AMIHS clients, staff and stakeholder about the Program?
  3. To what extent is AMIHS reaching mothers of Aboriginal babies?
  4. What health benefits have been achieved by AMIHS for mothers and their babies?
  5. What have been the costs of implementing AMIHS and its value for the money spent?


About the AMIHS program

The AMIHS is a community-based maternity service that aims to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal women and women with Aboriginal partners during pregnancy and birth and to decrease maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. AMIHS midwives and Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) work collaboratively with other relevant services to provide continuous, high quality and culturally safe antenatal and postnatal care.

AMIHS was implemented in seven program sites in 2001 and expanded in 2007 to over 30 programs. Currently there are over 40 AMIHS sites in NSW, delivering services to mothers of Aboriginal babies in over 80 locations in NSW.

The key components of AMIHS include:

  • providing community-based, culturally sensitive and continuous care for Aboriginal babies and their mothers, from as early as possible following conception up to 8 weeks postpartum
  • implementing health promotion and community development programs and strategies for and with Aboriginal families that support health seeking behaviours and reduce risk behaviours (e.g. the Quit for New Life smoking cessation program for mothers of Aboriginal babies and their families)
  • forging effective collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs), the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) and relevant non-health agencies
  • establishing well-functioning policies, procedures and intra-health partnerships — including with medical, obstetric, paediatric and child and family health staff — to maximise the quality, cultural safety and continuity of antenatal and postnatal care
  • building the capacity of, and providing a supportive and culturally safe working environment for, Aboriginal midwives and Aboriginal Health Workers through the provision of: a) supportive management; b) essential infrastructure (e.g. mobile phone, desk, computer and a car); and c) formal and informal training, peer support and clinical supervision.


How will the evaluation be undertaken?


The evaluation will use a mixed methods approach, drawing on information from both existing and new data sources. The evaluation has six discrete yet interrelated research activity components, as follows:
Component 1: Review of program documentation
Component 2: Self-administered survey of AMIHS managers
Component 3: Qualitative interviews with stakeholders
Component 4: Case studies
Component 5: Quantitative analysis of routinely collected patient data
Component 6: Economic evaluation