Concept: Maternal health
BACKGROUND: Inequity in access to and use of child and maternal health interventions is impeding progress towards the maternal and child health Millennium Development Goals. This study explores the potential health gains and equity impact if a set of priority interventions for mothers and under fives were scaled up to reach national universal coverage targets for MDGs in Tanzania. METHODS: We used the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) to estimate potential reductions in maternal and child mortality and the number of lives saved across wealth quintiles and between rural and urban settings. High impact maternal and child health interventions were modelled for a five-year scale up, by linking intervention coverage, effectiveness and cause of mortality using data from Tanzania. Concentration curves were drawn and the concentration index estimated to measure the equity impact of the scale up. RESULTS: In the poorest population quintiles in Tanzania, the lives of more than twice as many mothers and under-fives were likely to be saved, compared to the richest quintile. Scaling up coverage to equal levels across quintiles would reduce inequality in maternal and child mortality from a pro rich concentration index of -0.11 (maternal) and -0.12 (children) to a more equitable concentration index of -0,03 and -0.03 respectively. In rural areas, there would likely be an eight times greater reduction in maternal deaths than in urban areas and a five times greater reduction in child deaths than in urban areas. CONCLUSIONS: Scaling up priority maternal and child health interventions to equal levels would potentially save far more lives in the poorest populations, and would accelerate equitable progress towards maternal and child health MDGs.
Monitoring development indicators has become a central interest of international agencies and countries for tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. In this review, which also provides an introduction to a collection of articles, we describe the methodology used by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation to track country-specific changes in the key indicator for Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4), the decline of the under-five mortality rate (the probability of dying between birth and age five, also denoted in the literature as U5MR and (5)q(0)). We review how relevant data from civil registration, sample registration, population censuses, and household surveys are compiled and assessed for United Nations member states, and how time series regression models are fitted to all points of acceptable quality to establish the trends in U5MR from which infant and neonatal mortality rates are generally derived. The application of this methodology indicates that, between 1990 and 2010, the global U5MR fell from 88 to 57 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the annual number of under-five deaths fell from 12.0 to 7.6 million. Although the annual rate of reduction in the U5MR accelerated from 1.9% for the period 1990-2000 to 2.5% for the period 2000-2010, it remains well below the 4.4% annual rate of reduction required to achieve the MDG 4 goal of a two-thirds reduction in U5MR from its 1990 value by 2015. Thus, despite progress in reducing child mortality worldwide, and an encouraging increase in the pace of decline over the last two decades, MDG 4 will not be met without greatly increasing efforts to reduce child deaths.
As the deadline for the millennium development goals approaches, it has become clear that the goals linked to maternal and newborn health are the least likely to be achieved by 2015. It is therefore critical to ensure that all possible data, tools and methods are fully exploited to help address this gap. Among the methods that are under-used, mapping has always represented a powerful way to ‘tell the story’ of a health problem in an easily understood way. In addition to this, the advanced analytical methods and models now being embedded into Geographic Information Systems allow a more in-depth analysis of the causes behind adverse maternal and newborn health (MNH) outcomes. This paper examines the current state of the art in mapping the geography of MNH as a starting point to unleashing the potential of these under-used approaches. Using a rapid literature review and the description of the work currently in progress, this paper allows the identification of methods in use and describes a framework for methodological approaches to inform improved decision-making. The paper is aimed at health metrics and geography of health specialists, the MNH community, as well as policy-makers in developing countries and international donor agencies.
Improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality rate are key concerns. One of the eight millennium development goals adopted at the millennium summit, was to improve maternal health in Ethiopia. This leads towards discovering the factors that hinder postnatal care visit in Ethiopia.
Remarkable financial and political efforts have been focused on the reduction of child mortality during the past few decades. Timely measurements of levels and trends in under-5 mortality are important to assess progress towards the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) target of reduction of child mortality by two thirds from 1990 to 2015, and to identify models of success.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be committed to by Heads of State at the upcoming 2015 United Nations General Assembly, have set much higher and more ambitious health-related goals and targets than did the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The main challenge among MDG off-track countries is the failure to provide and sustain financial access to quality services by communities, especially the poor. Universal health coverage (UHC), one of the SDG health targets indispensable to achieving an improved level and distribution of health, requires a significant increase in government investment in strengthening primary healthcare - the close-to-client service which can result in equitable access. Given the trend of increased fiscal capacity in most developing countries, aiming at long-term progress toward UHC is feasible, if there is political commitment and if focused, effective policies are in place. Trends in high income countries, including an aging population which increases demand for health workers, continue to trigger international migration of health personnel from low and middle income countries. The inspirational SDGs must be matched with redoubled government efforts to strengthen health delivery systems, produce and retain more and relevant health workers, and progressively realize UHC.
Achievement of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 for child survival requires acceleration of gains in newborn survival, and current trends in improving maternal health will also fall short of reaching MDG 5 without more strategic actions. We present a Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) strategy for accelerating progress on MDGs 4 and 5, sustaining the gains beyond 2015, and further bringing down maternal and child mortality by two thirds by 2030.
Maternal mortality in low- and middle-income countries continues to remain high. The Ugandan Ministry of Health’s Strategic Plan suggests that little, if any, progress has been made in Uganda in terms of improvements in Maternal Health [Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5] and, more specifically, in reducing maternal mortality. Furthermore, the UNDP report on the MDGs describes Uganda’s progress as ‘stagnant’. The importance of understanding the impact of delays on maternal and neonatal outcomes in low resource settings has been established for some time. Indeed, the ‘3-delays’ model has exposed the need for holistic multi-disciplinary approaches focused on systems change as much as clinical input. The model exposes the contribution of social factors shaping individual agency and care-seeking behaviour. It also identifies complex access issues which, when combined with the lack of timely and adequate care at referral facilities, contributes to extensive and damaging delays. It would be hard to find a piece of research on this topic that does not reference human resource factors or ‘staff shortages’ as a key component of this ‘puzzle’. Having said that, it is rare indeed to see these human resource factors explored in any detail. In the absence of detailed critique (implicit) ‘common sense’ presumptions prevail: namely that the economic conditions at national level lead to inadequacies in the supply of suitably qualified health professionals exacerbated by losses to international emigration. Eight years' experience of action-research interventions in Uganda combining a range of methods has lead us to a rather stark conclusion: the single most important factor contributing to delays and associated adverse outcomes for mothers and babies in Uganda is the failure of doctors to be present at work during contracted hours. Failure to acknowledge and respond to this sensitive problem will ultimately undermine all other interventions including professional voluntarism which relies on local ‘co-presence’ to be effective. Important steps forward could be achieved within the current resource framework, if the political will existed. International NGOs have exacerbated this problem encouraging forms of internal ‘brain drain’ particularly among doctors. Arguably the system as it is rewards doctors for non-compliance resulting in massive resource inefficiencies.
While global maternal mortality declined 44 % between 1990 and 2015, the majority of countries fell short of attaining Millennium Development Goal targets. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in late 2015, include a target to reduce national maternal mortality ratios (MMR) to achieve a global average of 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. A comprehensive paper outlining Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) was launched in February 2015 to support achievement of the SDG global targets. To date, there has not been consensus on a set of core metrics to track progress toward the overall global maternal mortality target, which has made it difficult to systematically monitor maternal health status and programs over time.
This study investigates a puzzle concerning global health priorities-why do comparable issues receive differential levels of attention and resources? It considers maternal and neonatal mortality, two high-burden issues that pertain to groups at risk at birth and whose lives could be saved with effective intrapartum care. Why did maternal survival gain status as a global health priority earlier and to a greater degree than newborn survival? Higher mortality and morbidity burdens among newborns and the cost-effectiveness of interventions would seem to predict that issue’s earlier and higher prioritization. Yet maternal survival emerged as a priority two decades earlier and had attracted considerably more attention and resources by the close of the Millennium Development Goals era. This study uses replicative process-tracing case studies to examine the emergence and growth of political priority for these two issues, probing reasons for unexpected variance. The study finds that maternal survival’s grounding as a social justice issue spurred growth of a strong and diverse advocacy network and aligned the issue with powerful international norms (e.g. expectations to advance women’s rights and the Millennium Development Goals), drawing attention and resources to the issue over three decades. Newborn survival’s disadvantage stems from its long status as an issue falling under the umbrellas of maternal and child survival but not fully adopted by these networks, and with limited appeal as a public health issue advanced by a small and technically focused network; network expansion and alignment with child survival norms have improved the issue’s status in the past few years.