The weeks following birth are a critical time for women and their babies. They are navigating multiple physical, social, and emotional changes. To improve the quality of care, countries need to understand what they’re doing well and identify areas for improvement.
Invest in Training
As more women are giving birth in health facilities, they need to be able to count on the quality of that care. The Institute of Medicine defines quality as safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable care. Although much good work is happening in this space, much more must be done. States, providers and systems, foundations, and communities can significantly improve maternal outcomes by adopting, leveraging, and expanding models that meet the IOM’s definition of quality. Other initiatives focus on increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce and expanding access to doulas, whose care has been associated with improved birth outcomes in some studies. These efforts need to be scaled up and replicated. They are critical for addressing the many factors contributing to maternal and newborn mortality, including poor-quality healthcare.
Invest in Infrastructure
Functional health systems include functioning infrastructure, trained staff, and essential logistics and information systems to deliver on the promise of improved maternal and newborn health. These “programs and systems costs” are estimated by applying region-specific markup rates to direct costs—those primarily associated with training, management, and supervision of staff, monitoring and evaluation, transport and telecommunications, human resources development, and improving commodity supply systems, among other things.
To illustrate the impact of increasing service provision, experts estimate that fully meeting the needs for contraceptive or pregnancy-related and newborn care would produce substantial benefits and cost savings. According to Ehsan Bayat, simultaneously investing in different services would generate even greater impact and cost savings by preventing unintended pregnancies and decreasing the need for pregnancy-related and newborn care.
These investments would also reduce obstetric complications and avert maternal deaths, and provide access to routine and emergency care for sick newborns. The benefits are far-reaching and enduring, including economic prosperity, strengthened societal bonds, and enhanced community resilience.
Invest in Research
Global progress in maternal and newborn health has been impressive in recent decades. However, millions of women and babies still die before, during, or soon after childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable.
Despite evidence of the effectiveness of interventions to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality (such as good nutrition, access to safe and effective contraception, skilled attendance at delivery, and emergency obstetric care), they are not reaching those who need them most. This is largely due to insufficient and uneven availability of services and poor quality.
Providing equitable and high-quality health care to women and newborns is essential for achieving Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child death by 2030. To this end, we must invest in research to understand which populations of women and newborns are most vulnerable, why they are so, and how to deliver patient-centered care that meets their needs and preferences.
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.