A version of this post by Sean
Peoples originally appeared April 29, 2016 on the Wilson
Center New Security Beat
It’s not about counting how many times a mother interacts with antenatal
services or comes to the facility, but it’s what happens in these encounters
One month after the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), the maternal and newborn health community met in Mexico City
at the 2015 Global Maternal and
Newborn Health Conference. The conference marked the first opportunity for
health and development advocates to take stock of the successes and failures of
the Millennium Development Goals and discuss a common strategy for implementing
the maternal health targets of the SDGs.
Improving and measuring quality of care, and not only quantity, was a major
focus. Such a “woman-centered” approach is best achieved with an integrated
model of care – one that combines primary health care, family planning services
and other entry points into the health system so women do not need to go to
separate facilities for each. There is a very strong evidence base for why one
should integrate care, integrate measurement, and quality delivery.
Since Mexico City, global partners have been gearing up to think more
systematically about quality across the continuum, as well as a systems
approach to quality and countries wanting to make that part of their broader
national quality movement.
This is the first time that we have countries committed to actually reducing
newborn mortality, and maternal and newborn mortality goals are included in the
SDGs. And, with the Every Woman
Every Child, a roadmap created by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010,
we have targets to monitor progress.
Next week, many in the global maternal and newborn health community will travel
to Copenhagen for Women Deliver 2016. The
conference is a chance to further capitalize on momentum around continuum of
care and the integrated model laid out in Mexico City.
Staying focused on women, girls, mothers, and newborns will require a large
effort. It’s not just the business of the health sector, but how do we get
other sectors to also stay focused when we talk about women and girls?