Interventions to Reduce Maternal and Child Morbidity and Mortality

Authors: Ahmet Metin Gulmezoglu, Fernando Althabe, João Paulo Souza, Joy Lawn, Justus Hofmeyr, Marijke Gielen, Natasha Hezelgrave, Olufemi Oladapo, Rajiv Bahl, Theresa Lawrie, Daniela Colaci


Biomedical interventions for major causes of morbidity and mortality in pregnancy and childbirth are discussed in this chapter, in the context of people’s right to access good quality, respectful, and timely care. Although evidence of effectiveness remains unavailable for several vital interventions, they save the lives of thousands of mothers and newborns every day. Other simple interventions, if provided in the appropriate time and with the appropriate protocol, may save many more lives. However, the use of these approaches remains inconsistent or unavailable in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), making necessary (1) accelerated investments in health system infrastructure, (2) intervention implementation, (3) health worker training, and (4) patient education. Scaling-up of skilled care for pregnancy and childbirth remains necessary to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in LMICs, and a shift in focus to quality of care has the potential to unlock significant returns beyond 2015 to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths by 2030.


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