Mother's Day 2018 - celebrating and building on progress made in global maternal health

News article 9 Mar 2018

International Women’s Day (8th March) and Mother’s Day (11th March) make March 2018 a month to focus on all women and mothers throughout the world.

In many low- and middle-income countries around the world, the number of mothers dying is still unacceptably high. An estimated 303,000 women die each year due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if effective care had been available and of good quality.

The Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health’s vision is to end preventable maternal deaths, stillbirths and early neonatal deaths and improve the health of mothers and babies in low and middle-income countries. As a leading global centre of excellence for research, teaching and technical assistance for maternal and newborn health, we aim to improve the availability and quality of healthcare for mothers and babies.

Over several decades, we have seen significant gains in preventing maternal deaths. To maintain and further build on these gains, experts within CMNH have developed an antenatal and postnatal competency-based workshop. The workshop aims to support healthcare providers working in low and middle income countries to address the identified needs of mothers and babies during and after pregnancy, with integration of care across three main diseases - HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. The intervention package incorporates physical, mental and social aspects of maternal and child health. It combines evidence-based screening, therapeutic interventions and maternal education during and after pregnancy.

This package also includes two manuals which are being launched this month. The 'Manual for Facilitators' details the 52 interactive stations used to train healthcare providers over the five-day workshop, and the 'Manual for Healthcare Providers' is a resource for all healthcare providers who care for pregnant women during and after pregnancy. Through increasing the capacity, skills and knowledge of healthcare providers involved in antenatal and postnatal care, this new programme aims to ensure that mothers have better immediate and long-term outcomes, both for their health and the health of their babies.

Implementation of the programme commenced in Ghana, Togo and Afghanistan last year, with 100 healthcare providers, 30 Trainers of trainers and 14 UK based volunteers participating in the programme. It will be rolled out to more countries across Africa and Asia in the coming months.
Hannah McCauley, a midwife in CMNH who is overseeing the implementation of the programme, says: “We at CMNH believe that by building capacity of healthcare providers to care for women during and after pregnancy in a holistic manner, taking into consideration the physical, mental and social aspects of maternal and child health, we will ensure that women not only survive childbirth but thrive afterwards.”

This month, join CMNH in celebrating the gains that have been made in improving the availability and quality of care for mothers worldwide, and join us in celebrating women, mothers and families.

See our team celebrating International Women's Day on 8th March, and read Hannah McCauley's blog: Pressing for Progress on International Women's Day