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Maternal Health Overview

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​Significant achievements, but more must be done​​​

​Healthy women are the backbone of thriving communities and maternal health is integral to newborn survival. While the world has achieved a 45% decline in maternal mortality since 1990, far too many women continue to die needlessly. Nearly 300,000 women die every year due to complications that arise during pregnancy and childbirth -- that's approximately 800 women dying each day. The vast majority of these deaths occur in low resource countries, with 62% of global maternal deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and 24% in Southern Asia. These numbers are unacceptably high and point to significant geographic inequities.


A commitment to making motherhood safer for all women

Maternal death and disability stems from a lack of access to high quality, skilled care before, during and after birth. Most maternal deaths can be avoided, as the health-care solutions to prevent and manage complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth are highly-effective, low-cost and well-known.

​With the understanding that maternal and newborn care must be integrated in order to achieve best outcomes, Survive & Thrive partners develop and bring these evidence-based, life-saving interventions to mothers and newborns around the world. We work with in-country governments, health professionals and organizations -- providing technical support and programmatic guidance -- to identify and address barriers to maternal health care. By placing a special emphasis on strengthening health systems, improving the quality and availability of health services, and increasing the clinical capacity of providers to deliver skilled and respectful care, Survive & Thrive plays an important role in improving maternal health outcomes worldwide.


Maternal Health Resources


Access to skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and their newborn babies. The educational materials included on this page contain evidence-based information and guidance on strengthening maternal health care services in low-resource settings.

Helping Mothers Survive (HMS)​​
​​   To improve quality of care on the day of childbirth -- and thus reduce maternal mortality -- Jhpiego, in collaboration with global partners, designed Helping Mothers Survive (HMS), a facility and simulation-based suite of modules, to improve and sustain critical obstetric and newborn care skills of midwives, nurses, doctors and others who provide direct care during pregnancy, labor and delivery. These modules extend the reach of conventional training by targeting those with limited access to regular learning opportunities and by acting as the "booster shot" for those who have received previous trainings.

HMS utilizes the latest evidence in clinical care and learning approaches, which includes a signature "low dose, high frequency" approach to training and practice after training to improve provider confidence and competence to perform life-saving skills. Finalized in 2011, the first module in the series, Bleeding after Birth (BAB), addresses post-partum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal mortality globally. This module was reviewed and endorsed by ICM, FIGO, UNFPA, ICN, AAP, and was reviewed by WHO. Continuing with the theme of integrated care, Jhpiego developed the Helping Mothers and Babies Survive Threatened Preterm Birth module, which was completed in 2015.

In responding to requests from around the globe, and with input and collaboration from leading technical experts from ICM, ACNM, FIGO and ACOG, Jhpiego is in the process of developing new modules in expanded content areas, including normal labor and birth as well as complicated labor and birth.

Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Toolkits
These K4Health toolkits provide up-to-date information on a variety of maternal health topics that can strengthen the capacity of family planning program managers and service providers in low- and middle-income countries around the world.