To coordinate expert advice, the center worked with an expert panel of senior practitioners to aid frontline maternal and newborn health (MNH) service providers at all levels of care in the region. Frontline service providers were able to reach the experts by a phone call routed through the center. The expert panel had a membership of three obstetricians, two paediatricians, the regional pharmacist and an anaesthetist. These officers were employees of the Ghana Health Service and did not receive any special remmuneration for providing advice. It was treated as part of their normal work. The center officers received calls for help directly from frontline health service providers, and immediately transfered the call to the appropriate expert panel member based on the nature of the request. Follow up officers were as part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) required to call health facilities back within 15 min of transferring their calls to the expert panel members for feedback. Where a referral was required, either by information from the expert panel or feedback from the health facility, the follow-up officers proceeded to arrange for the referral. This mechanism is illustrated in Fig. 1.

Flow chart showing the direction of communication between the call center, lower level facilities requesting expert advice and the expert panel

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