Songpa Maternity Care Project
Songpa-gu Office

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Postnatal care provides mothers, who have just given birth, with a specific diet, housing and physical activity to help their bodies recover. This is not only a custom in Korea and certain lengths of postpartum are set in other Asian countries, Africa, Central and South America and western countries. However, postnatal care in Korea has a special meaning as this is the “official” holiday for mothers to be away from various responsibilities, including housework or parenting, while becoming the person to be cared for by all family members even in Korea’s patriarch social system. In addition, people have believed that women’s health in life depends on how they care for their body and mind after giving birth. The extended family system has collapsed and it is growing more and more difficult for mothers to obtain postnatal care from family members as the sizes and functions of families are smaller and vary now. In addition, women these days have limited knowledge and experience about parenting babies, so it is not easy to spend postpartum at home. Subsequently, Korea opened ‘Postpartum Care Centers’ from 1997 and more and more mothers began spending their postpartum at these centers. The centers are equipped with human resources and facilities for providing mothers, who have just given birth, and infants with proper postnatal care, including food and all other necessary services. As more women are joining the workforce and the average age for women marrying and eventually giving birth has risen, there are more concerns of their health and greater interest in postnatal care. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as of 2014, the total number of postpartum centers stands at 557, with 8,355 hospitalized mothers per day and 210,000 yearly. 48% of mothers use these facilities while it becomes one of the most important ways for mothers to spend postpartum in Korea. However, most of the facilities are private and the average fee is 3~4 million won for 2 weeks, which can be a huge economic burden for mothers, while there are hygiene and safety issues in the centers. In particular, low-income earners face greater difficulty in obtaining support from family members who tend to mostly make a living working jobs requiring long hours with inflexible vacation time nor can they afford postpartum facilities. Therefore, the distribution of those services has grown even more unequal. In advanced countries, various postnatal care services are provided for the health and well-being of mothers and infants, but Korean mothers should support themselves with regards to postnatal care. Childbirth and nurturing issues are regarded only as women’s issues, causing the birthrate in Korea to drop and leading to serious social issues. If most of mothers use postpartum centers and the costs can be shared by all citizens, there should be no delays in providing affordable costs and high quality postnatal care services in public areas. Songpa established the Songpa Maternity Care Center, with the ambition of making a role model of providing professional postnatal care services. This accommodates well the current needs of Korean mothers.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Songpa established the Songpa Maternity Care Center and infrastructure for health and well-beings services for mothers and newborn babies that have been dominantly delivered by private organizations. Unlike a common post-natal care center run by the government, the center offers a total package, including postnatal services for the well-being of mothers for the entire period of the pregnancy, including delivery and early parenting. The policy has been promoted over 4 years to improve quality of women’s lives by Songpa. The project has two main purposes. First, the number of Korean women taking part in the society have increased while perception on women haven’t changed as much, leading to weak social basis for working women with kids. The risks associated with pregnancy are higher as the age for women marrying increases, but support for women’s pregnancy and parenting is lacking. Local public health organizations only focus on pre-natal matters, which do not satisfy mothers’ needs, and the number of nurses available to support mothers is limited as they are only available to a few low-income families. Women’s pregnancy, childbirth and parenting activities are important aspects for family and community and postnatal care is critical for the well beings of women, mothers and infants. Mothers who went through pregnancy and childbirth need to recover mentally and physically. They also need to learn knowledge and information related to parenting to be good mothers. Secondly, postpartum centers, commonly used by most Korean mothers, are having hygiene, safety and high price issues, since they are operated by private organizations. The cost for using the facilities increase as facilities become high-end with larger scale, and costs can go up to 10 million won for 2 weeks with additional programs, including massage or exercise. The fees are not regulated and most of centers do not disclose their prices on their websites. The prices are increasing continuously but the quality of the service is yet to catch up with the price. Postpartum centers actually work as health institutions, so strict health and hygiene management should be performed. However, such management is not controlled by the government and infections in infants often occur. The number of complaints with respect to the private centers made to Korea Consumer Agency ( stood at 501 in 2010, 660 in 2011 and 867 in 2012. It sharply increases by more than 30% every year. In 2005, the government set up the 『Mother and Child Health Law』 to establish a management and inspection system controlling postpartum centers but doing so has not reduced the number of complaints and the absence of proper regulation is causing bigger social issues, while standards for compensation for those accidents are not yet clarified. Postpartum centers are classified as private service businesses and only require registration to the government, so private operators say that the government should not intervene. Songpa started working to establish standards for fees and the prevention of accidents related to poor safety management including issues with infections. In addition, it also set up an integrated management system for women’s health and ran its own center to provide services pre- and post-natal with health services for newborn babies. Most of all, Songpa attempts to set up facilities that women can trust at an affordable rate.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Songpa Maternity Care Center offers a customized management system for women’s health during the period of family planning, pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal care and parenting. It gives integrated health and administration services that were delivered by just other separate institutions before. It also organized pre- and post-natal programs of postpartum centers and support for health projects for mothers and infants, multicultural family projects, couples’ training and parenting training. Songpa developed an integrated system to make the center a place to help mothers recover, learn the roles of parents and to nurture bonding between mothers and infants. The Songpa’s unique program consists of 4 activities before pregnancy, pre- and post-natal and of social responsibility. The program before pregnancy is operated for the health of women who are not yet married and it works as a school for couples planning marriage. Couples can learn about the right perspective on marriage, married life, planned pregnancy and family health. The program pre-natal offers training for the preparation of childbirth to reduce mothers’ stress and to confirm the roles of parents. In addition, it provides health education for fathers related to newborn babies’ health in terms of fathers’ smoking, drinking and exercise. The program after childbirth provides postnatal care services with respect to newborn babies’ health. It includes breastfeeding clinics, emergency countermeasures. Also, there are programs related to mother’s health including post-natal exercise clinics and the management of depression after childbirth. Lastly, the system consists of a program related to social contribution, including health training for migrant mothers, and training courses for nurses, and regional experts.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Songpa planned the establishment of the Songpa Maternity Care Center after a policy meeting in September, 2010. We explained the causes and plans of the center to local residents, ward members and the Korea Postpartum Care Centers Association, while having several meetings with them to reach an agreement. In 2011, we began on construction of the project after selecting a design through a design contest and employing workers and in November, 2013 the project was completed and the center finally opened in February, 2014. In December, 2013, based on 『Regional Public Health Act』, 『Mother and Child Health Act』, 『National Health Promotion Act』 and 『Local Autonomy Act』, the 『Regulations and acts of the Songpa Maternity Care Center』 was set up to regulate the details of the establishment, management and operation of the center. In addition, a regulation that enables low-income mothers to use the service at a reduced fee was established. The service fee of our postpartum center is 1.9 million won for 2 weeks. It is lower than other centers run by private operators. The service fees of private centers are 3 million won on average and it can go up to 10 million won. However, the cost still can be a burden for low-incomers. We provide 30% discounts for beneficiaries of basic livelihood support, lower income households and family having more than two children, while 7 delivery rooms, accounting 25% of the total are allocated to low-incomers, multicultural family and family having more children preferentially. The specified operation plans of the Songpa Maternity Care Center were arranged as below. In January, 2013, Songpa signed an MOU with the nursing department of Seoul National University and started to develop standard protocols to improve the health of women both pregnant and otherwise. First of all, a survey was conducted on programs, current situations and workers in private postpartum centers in the same district and we analyzed their postnatal care and research documents. Based on the results, we developed management regulations and programs for mothers, infants and family members, while setting up integrated standard protocols for mothers’ health management. We also carried out training for internal employees to boost their capabilities. The Songpa Maternity Care Center is located in a building with 5 levels and 2 basement levels and with an area of 2,893㎡, consisting of postnatal care facilities, pre- and post-natal healthcare and education and a public kindergarten. There are 27 rooms in total for pregnant women, neonatal units with the quality of a general hospital and mom’s clinic, which provides services from the moment conception was confirmed until childbirth. Previously, the place was used as a gynecology office of the Community Health Center and now gynecologists and nurses reside there to provide health information in a timely manner. It also provides folic acid and iron supplements and conduct a congenital anomaly test and ultrasound treatment. Consultancy is available at all times. The center also helps mothers’ breast-feeding activity through running a rooming-in system and a customized breast-feeding education designed by international breast-feeding professionals. At a national level, the operation of the rooming-in system is recommended but the actual operation rate is not as high as expected. Without a rooming-in system, it is difficult perform breast-feeding. For mothers’ successful breast-feeding, Songpa provides education to mothers-to-be and continues the education system after childbirth. On the 1st level of the center, a public kindergarten was built to provide an integrated service during the period of childbirth and parenting. Its education and other fees are lower than those of private kindergartens. The quality of education is relatively high. At the kindergarten, a strict monitoring is performed based on relevant regulations so that mothers are more confident with our kindergarten now. Last May, three months after the opening of the center in February, 2014, there was no vacancy and the center was very popular as it was fully booked until January of next year.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Songpa Maternity Care Center project was suggested as part of the election campaign of the head of the Songpa office. In 2012, Songpa’s rate of women in childbearing age(15~49) was 56.3%, which is a bit higher than the national rate, which is 51.6% and the rate in Seoul, which is 54.5%. This caused a strong demand for systematic education and support for healthy childbirth. In addition, the number of health institutions dedicated to childbirth (3) and postpartum centers (9) was relatively low compared to the number of pregnant women. Therefore, there was mothers’ demand for postnatal care services provided by the government. When Songpa decided to establish a public postpartum center for the first time, private operators were strongly opposed to it. They claimed that it would harm private business since postnatal care services have not been run by community health centers in the past. In addition, the operators also explained that there are cases where the centers operated by the government previously had many operational and maintenance issues. That is why private operators currently provide postnatal care services. However, Songpa did not stop what it was planning as we knew that private postnatal centers lack interest in the health of mothers and infants, while mothers leave private centers with heavy bills. Songpa believed that fees can be reduced and service quality can be improved if we build a public postpartum center and provide quality service at affordable fees. Songpa developed a health program for mothers and promoted it to influence a private postpartum center market, while considering private postpartum centers as cooperative partners instead of competitors. It also cooperates with private centers for mothers to enjoy equal rates as to whether they are in a public center or private one. In addition, Songpa will see increased efficiency by cooperating with internal organizations and promoting health projects with community groups and bodies. Internally, we set up a task force with community health centers, departments of medicine, health and parenting and a support center for multicultural families, and promote an integrated project. Externally, we organized a community network linking with obstetrics clinics, hospitals, and private postpartum centers, Health Insurance Corporation, Doctors’ Association in Songpa, Korean Nurses Association, Universities and Consultants Board, while actively adopting external resources.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Songpa Maternity Care Center was established using the Songpa’s budget, which is 8.878 billion won in total. When the project was promoted, the biggest issue was funding. There were various opinions and issues amongst different groups on the matters of finance and the effective allocation of it. However, Songpa worked very hard to persuade local residents opposed to the project and to win approval from the council with respect to universally providing health services according to the situations and needs of all women. We had several meetings with people from the Association of the National Postnatal Care Business and private operators, while holding a public hearing to accommodate different public opinions. Mothers, who cannot afford several million won for postnatal care services, might experience discrimination and frustration from the beginning of childbirth. It costs money to employ a nurse, while the time is limited to 8 hours per day. Standards for appropriate fees and quality health care service should be established for every woman to enjoy quality service. This view was explained to the people involved and an agreement was finally reached. The operation cost of the center in 2014 is 1.480 billion won in total, and 1.247 billion won was spent on the operation of the postpartum center, 179 million won on management of the facilities and 54 million won on the operation of programs for the health of mothers and newborn babies. Currently, the center is operated by the allocated budget by Songpa and profits from the operation of the center. The establishment of public postpartum centers started to be accentuated when it was mentioned as part of the election campaigns of many candidates for local election in 2014. It was right after the establishment of the Songpa Maternity Care Center. Operational technology of the Songpa Maternity Care Center was designed after signing an MOU with the nursing department of Seoul University. It was promoted through developing and adopting programs for mothers, newborn babies and family members and integrated standard protocol for mothers’ health and trainings for internal employees, which was intended to strengthen the capabilities of the center. It became possible to provide customized health services enabling the management of pregnant women’s individual health and habits instead of just offering iron supplements or performing an ultrasound. Furthermore, programs are provided online and offline to encourage participation. There were no specific educational institutions before and mothers acquired information only online or from acquaintances. Now Songpa suggests a new paradigm through offering offline lectures by professionals and online consultations in real time. Gynecologists, nurses and medical technologists reside at the center and take care of mothers and newborn babies. Mothers can learn about body correction, diet and baby food from professional health trainers and dieticians. The most noticeable project could be ‘Songpa’s certified nurses for mothers and newborn babies’. Songpa signed a contract with 8 domestic nurse recruitment agencies and provides professional training to them with respect to breast-feeding, parenting newborn babies, emergency countermeasures and postnatal care. We also invite international breast-feeding experts, nursing professors and gynecologists and improve the quality of training provided. For 1 year in 2013, we educated 96 professional nurses and sent them to 501 households to provide postnatal care that women can trust.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
First, we reduced the fee for postnatal care service. There was discrimination and sentiment of frustration in the community as fees varied by district and the quality of facility even though each postpartum center provided similar services. As postpartum centers are becoming essential for the society, excessive raise and difference in the cost should be controlled. There have been efforts by the government to reduce the fees. The government waived the VAT for all postpartum centers. However, only 35.6% of the centers reduced their service fees while 34.6% of centers maintained the fees and 19.8% increased its fee. The fee for the postpartum center of the Songpa Maternity Care Center is 190 million won for 2 weeks. It was 70% of the fee of a private center, while giving preferential benefit to low-income mothers. It also provides a 30% discounted fee to the beneficiaries of basic livelihood support, lower income families and mothers with a third child, while 25% of the total rooms are arranged for low-income and multicultural families or mothers who have more children. Secondly, strict hygiene management is carried out to avoid accidents. Currently, the most urgent issue to be addressed by private centers is protecting mothers and newborn babies staying within a limited space from the risk of infection. 453 infection related accidents occurred over 5 years, from 2009 to 2013 and 1 newborn baby lost his life. The Songpa Maternity Care Center was designed to prevent accidents and maintain safety and we provided strict management for preventing infection. It includes education for preventing infection, medical examination, infection care and health care. In addition, we also arranged a systematic plan for management and compensation with respect to accidents. As a result, there has been no single accident since the opening of the center. Third, time and costs are reduced by providing an integrated system. Many women look for good and trustable postpartum centers for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth and they spend time and energy searching the internet or asking their mothers to get more information. However, they also feel confused as they are not sure if the information they acquired is professional and correct. Therefore, there was a demand for a public support center to provide one-stop infrastructure for women’s health all in one place. The Songpa Maternity Care Center is equipped with an integrated care system, including a postpartum center, kindergarten, consultation for pregnant women, cooking class, kinesiatrics, and an insulin resistance syndrome management center. The information related to pregnancy and childbirth provided by professionals is classified by each stage and it is readily available. The environment for childbirth is arranged by connecting postpartum centers and day-care centers, while providing actual support for women seeking to return to the workplace. Fourth, pressure for childbirth is reduced. A woman after childbirth will learn parenting capabilities and carry out her role as a mother. She will undergo a process of trial and error in order to learn them, so it is critical to encourage and support her to learn how to perform parenting for her baby and to be confident in performing the role as a mother. The Songpa Maternity Care Center carries out professional education to improve women’s capabilities, including a rooming-in system, one on one breast-feeding training and one on one Newborn Bathing Practices. In addition, for favourable parenting environment where parenting is not only mothers’ duty, but all other family members’(husband, mother, mother-in-law) duty, the center is providing classes for fathers and grandmothers.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Postpartum centers take care of newborn babies so strict management and inspections are required, but it has been out of the government’s control. Songpa performed strict infection management to prevent accidents. Every floor of the Songpa Maternity Care Center is disinfected every day. There is a lift only for mothers to protect themselves from external risks and basins are installed in several places to encourage frequent hand washing. Furthermore, air sterilizers, oxygen generators, automatic temperature and humidity control systems and fire blocking devices are installed to prevent infection and safety issues. Training to prevent infections is provided to staffs for strict hygiene management and the officers from Songpa visit the center once a week to assess environmental and hygiene risks. Last July, the center cooperated with obstetrics and paediatrics departments for the stricter prevention of infection related accidents and health management. The satisfaction survey is administered to mothers that have left the centers either over the phone or via email to improve management. The survey is classified into cleaning, laundry, diet, education programs, and the parenting of newborn babies, the health management of mothers and the professionalism of staff and scores will be given to each category. Results are reported every week. The satisfaction of 173 mothers was shown until the end of August, as an average of 4.28 out of 5, as the maximum score was received in 9 categories, which is relatively high. The highest score was 4.49 for educational programs and 8 other categories are all over 4, which means mothers are satisfied with most of the services provided. Opinions suggested in the monitoring process are applied to the improvement in operations planning. Most mothers expressed difficulties in health management and parenting a newborn baby after leaving the center. We established a system that provides offline instruction, online consultation with professionals in real time for mothers to perform the role of parent after they leave the center. In addition, we also developed an application to provide real time health information and online consultation service via smart phones. After all these efforts, Songpa has been selected as the best institution in the ‘assessment for the integrated health improvement project of the community’ by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2014 for 2 years running. The center received high scores in its health system and was the only organization, which received the best award in Seoul. The center received compliments for providing quality health services to women at the Songpa Maternity Care Center.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
It costs 8 billion won to build 1 public postpartum center. There was opposition doubting the efficiency of the project as the construction of the center would be quite expensive while the number of beneficiaries is limited. There should be more effective ways to support women’s postnatal care. One example is to sign an agreement with the Korea Postnatal Care Association and provide lower fees or a discounted rate to low-income mothers. From 2006, the ‘support nurses for mothers and newborn babies’ have been promoted and vouchers have been offered enabling low-income households, which make less than 50% of the average income to use the nurse service. It varies, but most of time, approximately 85% is supported by the government and the user will pay the rest. In Songpa, 501 people have benefitted from the voucher program last year. However, cases have been reported that fees were unlawfully claimed or beneficiaries and agencies colluded and abused the use of the vouchers. Another problem was that if the vouchers are frequently used, then the fees might increase. Furthermore, the number of beneficiaries is reducing in the face of a lack of governmental support and budget. Only with the support for lower-income mothers, there are still a number of women placed in the blind spots of the welfare. Songpa established the Songpa Maternity Care Center to provide direct support to more women. The number of mothers who can use the postpartum center of the Songpa Maternity Care Center stands at approximately 700 per year. However, the center offers preferential vouchers for low-income earners who cannot purchase the service by themselves, while reducing the fees for women to manage their health without experiencing financial difficulty. In addition, the center is equipped with various facilities not only for pregnant women, but also for all family members. Single females, couples planning to get married and grandparents can enjoy the customized programs and exercise clinics, cooking class and the insulin resistance syndrome management center are available to local residents. From the opening of the center until the end of September, there were 2,280 that used the exercise clinic (hosted 306 times), 2,065 that used the cooking class (hosted 113 times) and 4,925 that used the educational programs (hosted 210 times). The cost effectiveness of the center was doubted for the first time after it was established, but now there are positive responses as the center provides health services not only for women, but also for all local residents.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The first benefit from the project above is that it helped people recognize the real meaning and function of postnatal care and that it contributed to development of practical and economical postnatal care service. It is very difficult to find private facilities designed to manage mothers’ health in foreign countries as most advanced countries have already set up a systematic public health system for women after childbirth. However, in Korea, most organizations only provided iron supplements through community health centers and most pregnant women had to spend their postpartum at private facilities. ‘Postnatal care’ is traditionally supposed to be provided to pregnant women by experienced women for women’s health after childbirth in Korea. The center was difficult to be established and run at the government level. However, the Songpa Maternity Care Center changed the paradigm of health services for women. High quality health services were provided to mothers and newborn babies through offering correct information about family participation and the operation of a rooming-in system. Mothers’ health programs and protocols developed by Songpa provide easy and detailed procedures and methods for women to spend postpartum at home, and it is also distributed to obstetrics departments, hospitals and private postpartum centers to be used as standardized guidance for health services. It also reduced the fees of private centers, while providing women more options to choose from as private centers reduced fees to compete with public centers. Second, there are public opinions claiming that postnatal care should be managed by the government in Korea as seen in the case of the successful establishment and operation of the Songpa Maternity Care Center. There is rising number of public opinions claiming that the government should set the standard of cost while preventing accidents and infections in the center. The number of private centers that are currently being operated is 557 and the market size is 350 billion won yearly. The postpartum center industry is growing quickly, but the lack of management causes many issues. Newborn babies suffer from enteritis, pneumonia and avian rotavirus. It is because the 『Mother and Child Health Act』 does not clearly prescribe the management of infection. Since 2009, the National Assembly has not discussed the 『Mother and Child Health Act』 properly, which explains the management and inspection of postpartum centers. However, in June, 2014, many candidates suggested the establishment of public postpartum centers as part of their election campaigns at local elections, and the revised regulations of the are suggested to build more public postpartum centers and to disclose fees. There are moves to set up regulations asking to produce a survey on the current situation of postpartum centers regularly. Local governments, including Gyeonggi-do and Gyeongsangnam-do, already set up regulations for prescribing establishments and the operation of public postpartum centers. Songpa has prepared for operation of the center with ordinances before the relevant regulations are established and it is taking a leading role in healthcare of women and newborn babies. The central and local government is carrying out effectiveness analysis on the case of Songpa Maternity Care Center to set it as a role model for future public postpartum centers.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Postpartum centers were established according to economic and social changes, including smaller family sizes and an increasing number of dual income households, and the various needs of women. The average age of women having their first child and the ages at which women are pregnant are rising, so now the postpartum centers should be considered one of the general health services that should be available to every woman. However, the demand outweighs the supply. There are 9 private centers in Songpa that can provide services to 298 mothers on average monthly, which means only 37.4% of Songpa’s 0-age population(infants) can be accommodated. In addition, according to the <2013 Population Report> issued by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities(UNFPA), the childbirth rate of Korea is 1.3, which is the lowest among OECD countries. The low birthrate can be a serious issue but there is lack of childbirth encouragement offering actual benefits to families. An infrastructure for public postpartum centers should be built at the governmental level to effectively promote childbirth. Now, Korean society focuses more on providing health services to pregnant women, and for example, a few local bodies promote a project offering complimentary postnatal care to all pregnant women. The Songpa Maternity Care Center was assessed as a successful model of public postpartum centers. Local bodies, including Busan, Seongnam and Guri and 12 community health centers visited the center and candidates who suggested the establishment of public postpartum centers also came to see the facilities for themselves. In May, medical teams and government officials from three Asian countries (Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal) visited the center to benchmark policy to improve the health of mothers and infants in their own countries. The visit was arranged as part of <2014 Promotion of Mothers’ and Newborn Babies’ Health in the Aspect of Asian Countries> by the International Foundation of Women & Family. In particular, they were interested in postnatal care programs linked with holistic methods and they were also impressed with the various diet and exercise programs that were offered to women after childbirth. Korea’s postnatal care is not only a Korean custom, but also a great health policy for mothers and newborn babies in general. They also asked for the cooperation of planning actual plans that can be applied to each country. In fact, the postnatal care business in Korea is receiving attention by the world. Last year, as Japanese top celebrity came to Korea to spend her postpartum in Korea, there are mothers-to-be from China, Middle Eastern countries and Taiwan coming to Korea to give birth to their child. In 2010, the postnatal care business was selected as one of the ’10 promising service industries’ by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In 2013, at the , Japan’s postnatal care association expressed plans on adopting Korea’s postnatal care service to Japan. Standardized guidance and stables service should be provided like how Songpa has done as the market can be expanded from Asian countries that have similar postnatal care customs to other countries, like America, England and Russia.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
We conducted a survey on users and employees of private centers to make standardized guidelines. However, it was not easy to interview operators or employees at the workplace, nor was it easy to obtain information about actual manuals or operation plans even though we managed to meet them in person. In addition, we understood that many private centers do not have their own guidelines. Private operators were strongly opposed to the establishment of public centers. However, the responses of private facility users were more open and they also explained about the inconveniences that they experienced at private centers. The domestic market of postpartum centers is structured in a more of a commercial direction. More focus is placed on interior design, people care more about how the dishes look than the actual food they hold and on formula or other presents are given when mothers leave the center. Meanwhile, the precious infants lie in plastic baskets in a cold neonatal unit, longing for their mothers. Postpartum is a critical time for mothers to recover mentally and physically, and to learn how to raise their babies. If incorrect information and lack of recognition of their roles are given they will only focus on their own recovery and interests. After all, it will cause them to lose the chance to take care of their babies’ health. Songpa attempted to make the center into a place that not only takes care of newborn babies, but also establishes a relationship between mothers and newborn babies and teaches the role of parent. Previously, Korea did not recognize the importance of women’s health and the associated responsibilities. However, if you are a female in Korea, you would expect to receive rather comfortable postnatal care after childbirth. We cannot delay making an environment for women to use the service without the burden of cost, since postnatal care is another basic right of women, equivalent to maternity leave or childcare leave and it equates to the minimum amount of respect that should be given to women after childbirth. Songpa is becoming a role model of other districts as it provides systematic pre- and post-natal services that have been delivered by private centers. The efforts were supported by communities and draw out voluntary cooperation from local residents. We promote a breast-feeding campaign with obstetrics clinics within the district and postpartum centers. Professional training is provided by the Doctors’ Association in Songpa, hospitals and universities. The Multicultural Family Support Center and Korean Nurses Association support multicultural classes for pregnant women, while the Federation of Volunteer Efforts in Korea and the Songpa Mental Health Center helps by providing programs to prevent mothers from slipping into post-natal depression. We also cooperated with the Health Insurance Corporation, the Association of Childcare Facilities, the Nurses Agencies and Korea Consumer Protection Board to strengthen our network. Songpa will perform the core role of establishing a system for the health of women’s life cycle and family members through strict management and inspection in the future.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Songpa-gu Office
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Su Jung Kim
Title:   Public Official  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-2-2147-2444 / 82-2-2147-3863
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   326, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, Korea
Postal Code:   138-702
City:   Seoul

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