Mamas on Bedrest: Priorities for Maternal and Child Health Identified

December 21st, 2011

Click to take the postpartum depression survey conducted by Case Western Reserve University Thank you very much for your consideration.



On the heels of the 20/20 special segment, “Giving Life: A Risky Proposition” The World Health Organization (WHO) has released Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. This comprehensive document outlines the necessary steps and guidelines nations (developing low and mid income nations in particular) must adopt in order to further reduce maternal, infant and child mortality and to have a chance of reaching Millennium Development Goals .

Maternal, Infant and Child mortality is a global issue.  According to the report,

Annually, 358,000 women die worldwide during pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately 7.6 million children die before the age of 5 years, and those in low-income countries are about 18 times more likely to die during that time than children in high-income countries. Under-5 mortality rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.

Maternal, newborn, and under-5 mortality rates have declined in accordance with Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce the under-5 mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015) and 5 (reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015). However, the improvements are not occurring quickly enough to reach the 2015 targets.

WHO and its partners The AGA Khan University (in Pakistan) and The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health performed a survey of more than 50,000 review papers to determine what steps are necessary to critically impact maternal, newborn and child health. Their goal was to identify key interventions that low and middle income countries can implement that are cost effective, will maximize resources and maximize the health and mortality of women, infants and children and thus help these countries reach worldwide millennium health and development goals. Their research has revealed some 56 key evidence-based interventions that when implemented, will have a significant impact on maternal, newborn and child health.

Rather than try and list all the interventions here, I refer you to their report, Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

For each intervention, the authors indicated whether they recommend the intervention be delivered,

  • Through the community or in the home-These health care workers are often community volunteers and/or influential outreach workers who have knowledge of the local community and are trusted by the community.
  • Via healthcare professionals, outreach workers, or community health workers-Health care providers at this level are skilled professionals as well as outreach workers.
  • In hospitals-Either local hospitals or regional referral hospitals that can provide higher levels of intervention and care.

The interventions were classified broadly as adolescents/prepregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal (mother), postnatal (newborn), infancy and childhood, and cross-cutting community strategies.

Researchers believe that the recommendations in this report will help low and middle income countries’ health care workers best utilize their resources in an effort to reduce Maternal, Newborn and Child deaths. These guidelines will also help countries develop policies and regulations that will not only benefit women and children’s health, but also take into consideration the health care and policy environments of the countries so that all citizens will benefit.

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