WOmen’s action for Mums and Bubs (WOMB)

WOMB logo.

Logo art by Selina Tonga, Carbal Medical Services

“We as women all belong to the one tree, hands reaching up in growth, branching out learning from each other, moving around the cycle of life we continue to learn, grow empowering the next generation of strong healthy women.”

This project aims to test the effectiveness of community women’s groups to improve the quality of maternal and child health care and outcomes.

Why is this study needed?

Although there have been improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander maternal and child health, more can be done. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) processes are effective in improving quality of care provided by primary health care services in areas such as maternal and child health. However, there is still significant variation in the quality of care provided between individual services.

There is strong evidence internationally that shows community women’s groups can improve maternal and child outcomes through improved quality of care, women’s empowerment, and new learning. As we know, participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community women’s groups have shown similar empowerment.

How we will do this study?

Working in partnership in Indigenous health is fundamental. The project is a partnership between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care services, community women's groups, and experienced researchers.  Together we will use the best evidence about community participation in co-design of health services. In this project, women’s groups with the help of a local facilitator will plan and carry out changes to improve maternal and child health in their communities. Maternal and child health service data and women's stories will be analysed throughout the project to see if there are any changes in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums and their bubs, and how the changes might have come about.

Project Updates


Preston, R., S. Rannard, C. Felton-Busch, S. Larkins, K. Canuto, K. Carlisle, R. Evans, M. Redman-MacLaren, J. Taylor, N. N. Turner, L. Yeomans, E. Sanguineti, M. Passey and J. Farmer (2019). "How and why do participatory women’s groups (PWGs) improve the quality of maternal and child health (MCH) care? A systematic review protocol." BMJ Open 9(9): e030461.


For more information, please email womb@jcu.edu.au or contact:

Associate Professor Catrina Felton-Busch,
Co-Lead Investigator, James Cook University
07 4781 6491 catrina.feltonbusch@jcu.edu.au

Professor Sarah Larkins,
Co-Lead Investigator, James Cook University
07 4781 3139 sarah.larkins@jcu.edu.au