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Quality Maternity Care for Every Woman, Everywhere: A Call to Action

Marjorie Koblinsky, Cheryl A. Moyer, Clara Calvert, James Campbell, Oona M.R. Campbell, Andrea B. Feigl, Wendy J. Graham, Laurel Hatt, Steve Hodgins, Zoe Matthews, Lori McDougall, Allisyn C. Moran, Allyala K. Nandakumar, Ana Langer


September 16, 2016
As part of a Lancet series of six papers summarizing the last decade of evidence on maternal health interventions, Abt Principal Associate Dr. Laurel Hatt and former Associate Dr. Andrea Feigl co-authored the synthesis paper in the series. Hatt and Feigl contributed to the sections on financing for maternal health, universal health coverage, and equity as part of their work for the USAID-funded, Abt-led Health Finance & Governance Project.

To summarize: While the last 25 years has delivered progress for some women and their newborns, poor maternal health is concentrated among poor and vulnerable populations, including refugees and those affected by humanitarian crises. Improving maternal health will require action to ensure quality maternal health care for all women and girls, and to guarantee access to care for those outside the system.

The paper highlights some of the most pressing issues in maternal health and asks: What steps can be taken in the next five years to catalyze action toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 livebirths by 2030, with no single country exceeding 140? Five priorities are highlighted as requiring immediate attention:

(1) Prioritize quality maternal health services that respond to local specificities of need and meet emerging challenges;
(2) Promote equity through universal coverage of quality maternal health services, including for the most vulnerable women;
(3) Increase resilience and strength of health systems by optimizing the health workforce and improving facility capability;
(4) Guarantee sustainable financing for maternal–perinatal health; and
(5) Accelerate progress through evidence, advocacy, and accountability.
Crucial to achieving equity will be the growing pressure on national and regional governments, in even the poorest countries, to provide universal health coverage.

Read the article.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Latin America & the Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa