Quality, equity, and dignity for all women and babies

Amy Boldosser-Boesch, Senior Director of the FCI Program of MSH, co-authored  the comment,  “Quality, equity, and dignity for women and babies” for the latest Lancet series on maternal health, which was launched during UN General Assembly week, September 18. The series reviews the last decade of evidence on maternal health worldwide and champions urgent action to guarantee that every woman and every newborn can access high-quality care.

Amy Boldosser-Boesch comments on integrated maternal and newborn health efforts at the Lancet Maternal Health Series in New York.
Amy Boldosser-Boesch comments on integrated maternal and newborn health efforts at The Lancet Maternal Health Series launch in New York. (Photo by J. Cook Photography)

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Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch, FCI Program of MSH; Olive Cocoman, WHO; Mary Kinney, Save the Children; Betsy McCallon, White Ribbon Alliance; Kadi Toure, PMNCH

Originally appearing on the Healthy Newborn Network blog, this article provides an update to a previous post on maternal and newborn health integration.

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The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and AdolescentsHealth (Global Strategy) calls for ending all preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. Greater quality of care is needed to preserve and protect the health of both mothers and babies, especially for those living in areas that are hardest to reach and where crisis prevails. At the Women Deliver conference in May, maternal and newborn health experts and advocates united to launch a powerful, integrated advocacy campaign focused on quality, equity and dignity of care for all mothers and babies. Continue reading “Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all”

Maternal-Newborn Health: Quality, Equity and Dignity for All

The Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health provides an opportunity to strengthen a common maternal-newborn advocacy campaign for Quality, Equity, and Dignity for All Women and Babies. Join us at Women Deliver, Tuesday May 17 at 7 AM, to learn more about this united maternal-newborn advocacy campaign and to share experiences of successful advocacy resulting in improvements for Quality, Equity, and Dignity for mothers and babies.

RSVP here.

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Sharing strategies for integrating maternal and newborn care: Strengthening the continuum

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch and Mary Kinney

Amy Boldosser-Boesch, is Interim President and CEO of Family Care International (FCI) and Mary Kinney is Specialist with Save the Children, Saving Newborn Lives. This post originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network blog.

The global health community gathered on Tuesday evening, May 19 to recognize the importance of integrating maternal and newborn care and to celebrate the release of the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) Progress Report May 2015 and Strategies Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM). The side session at the 68th World Health Assembly Integrating maternal and newborn care: Strengthening the continuum was standing room only as a panel of champions for integration of maternal and newborn health took the stage. Co-sponsored by the Governments of Malawi and Cameroon, this event was planned with the support of a wide range of partners.*

Panelists give remarks at the Sharing Strategies for Integrating Maternal and Newborn Care: Strengthening the continuum side event in Geneva. Photo: PMNCH
Panelists give remarks at the Sharing Strategies for Integrating Maternal and Newborn Care: Strengthening the continuum side event in Geneva. Photo: PMNCH

Continue reading “Sharing strategies for integrating maternal and newborn care: Strengthening the continuum”

Calling for an integrated approach to maternal and newborn health: Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality

Amy Boldosser-Boesch is Interim President and CEO of Family Care International. This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog.

Next week at the 68th World Health Assembly, the Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM)Working Group — led by WHO in partnership with Family Care International (FCI), the Maternal Health Task Force, UNICEF, UNFPA, USAID, the Maternal Child Survival Program, and the White Ribbon Alliance — will launch its much-anticipated report, Strategies Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM). For FCI and our partners, this report presents an important opportunity to highlight the critical linkages between the health of a woman and that of her newborn baby. Continue reading “Calling for an integrated approach to maternal and newborn health: Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality”

UNGA week shows maternal and newborn health are central to development challenges

Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Interim President and CEO at Family Care International. This article originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) blog.  

CD cover 2This year’s UN General Assembly was full of high-profile moments that reinforced the need for investment and action to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH): the launch of a Global Financing Facility to Advance Women’s and Children’s Health; the release of reports tracking stakeholders’ fulfillment of commitments to Every Woman Every Child; new data on maternal, newborn and child survival from Countdown to 2015; and a plethora of side events focusing on strategies and country progress toward MDGs 4 and 5. For Family Care International, which advocates for improved reproductive, maternal, and newborn health, this unprecedented level of attention to women’s and children’s health is a welcome sign that our advocacy is having an impact, and that global commitment to ending all preventable maternal and child deaths is stronger than ever.

RMNCH was a key theme in many other important discussions during the week, demonstrating the centrality of the health of mothers and newborns to a range of development challenges.

  • Events began with a Climate Summit that brought together leaders from more than 120 countries. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health noted during the Summit that “women and children are the most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate, and those who are more likely to suffer and die from problems such as diarrhoea, undernutrition, malaria, and from the harmful effects of extreme weather events such as floods or drought.”
  • There was a special session to review progress towards achieving the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action. The ICPD agenda highlights the importance of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and the importance of quality and accessible maternal health care, recognizing that healthy girls and women can choose to become healthy moms of healthy babies.
  • The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting where President Obama called for swift action on the Ebola epidemic that is destroying lives and decimating African health systems. This crisis highlights already-fragile health systems that lack sufficient health workers, supplies, and essential medicines–the same failures that contribute to maternal and newborn mortality. A recent news story details how pregnant women who are not infected with Ebola risk dying in West Africa due to lack of access to maternal health services, and the same risk exists for newborns and young children. The loss of skilled healthworkers, particularly midwives, could have enormous long term impacts on the ability of women, newborns and children to access life-saving care.
  • Finally, the UNGA week included high-level meetings on humanitarian crises in Syria, South Sudan and many other countries. According to the State of the World’s Mothers 2014 report, more than half of all maternal and child deaths occur in crisis-affected places. Discussions of humanitarian response in crisis settings included recognition of the disproportionate impact on women and children of violence, including gender-based violence, displacement, lack of access to food and lack of access to crucial maternal health services and early interventions for newborns. These crises and fragile health systems make achieving the Every Newborn Action Plan recommendations on ensuring quality care for mothers and newborns during labor, childbirth and the first week of life more difficult, but also more critical.

While this long list of world crisis may seem overwhelming, there is some good news on maternal, newborn and child survival. As the UN Secretary-General reminded us, the world is reducing deaths of children under the age of five faster than at any time in the past two decades and significant declines in maternal mortality have occurred in the past 10 years. As the world works together to shape the post-2015 development goals, these experiences during UNGA show that the new agenda must prioritize continuing to address maternal, newborn and child mortality which is linked to many of the world’s pressing development challenges, including poverty. As a recent editorial in The Lancet says, “As governments slowly come to an agreement about development priorities post-2015, it is clear that maternal and newborn health will be essential foundations of any vision for sustainable development between 2015 and 2030.”