Missed Opportunities in Maternal and Infant Health: reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in the year after childbirth through combined facility- and community-based interventions

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Contract/Grant agreement number
: 265448
EC contribution
: € 2,997,647.00
: 60 months
Starting date
: 01/02/2011
: Postpartum care, maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, community- and facility-based services, integration of care.
Project web-site

Improving maternal and newborn health requires innovative approaches that maximise opportunities for impact throughout the continuum of care. In the past decade, maternal health services have largely focused on the management of intrapartum complications and on rationalising the package of antenatal services to include emergency obstetric care provided by skilled birth attendants. These interventions have sought to target what are widely considered to be the most common and immediate causes of maternal death.

Yet this approach fails to address many underlying morbidities that are instrumental in generating high rates of maternal mortality, such as anaemia and inadequate birth spacing. Also missing is a direct focus on the substantial proportion of maternal deaths in the postpartum. Indeed, as a component of maternal health, postpartum care has been neglected, along with the whole field of newborn health in Africa. The essential package and optimum structure of postpartum services for women and newborns in Africa remains poorly defined, with many missed opportunities for improved care.

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