Gwyneth Lewis's Bio

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Gwyneth is widely known and respected by the maternal and newborn health community, both in the UK and more widely, and holds several roles in promoting global safer motherhood and newborn health. She is the clinical leader for international maternal health and policy in the Department of Health, London, and the part time clinical director for international maternal and perinatal research development at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford. Additionally she has directed the United Kingdom and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths for nearly 20 years and is a visiting professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Care at the University of Bournemouth. She represents the Bill and Melinda Gates MHTF on the new international Maternal Mortality Campaign being promoted and co-ordinated by Sarah Brown.

Through her policy, research and media work for many years Gwyneth has been a vocal and consistent advocate for improving social equity and easy and universal access to high quality maternal and newborn health care services for all mothers and their children. In her earlier role as the maternal health “tsar” and national and international clinical leader for maternal health in England, and more widely, she has been consistently committed to identifying and overcoming the underlying barriers to care and meeting the needs of the neediest and most excluded mothers and infants, wherever they may live. She lectures and writes extensively on the global injustice of maternal health, co-directed and produced two short films including the award winning My Sister My Self, and has, for many years, extensively supported the global secretariat of the White Ribbon Alliance.

She is an expert in, and has widespread experience of the development and implementation of national policy, and national or local guidelines, standards and audit for international maternal and newborn health. She is particularly well known for editing and helping implement the WHO manual “Beyond The Numbers” (BTN) which promotes of a variety of techniques for maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality review in order to implement beneficial and practical changes, particularly in resource poor countries. To date over 54 country representatives have attended BTN workshops, and these are continuing in all parts of the world in 2009. Apart from WHO, where she was also seconded for a while, her work in this area has been commissioned by a number of other international agencies. She has worked in most regions of the world and has helped set up maternal death reviews in Central Asia, parts of India and some African countries.

Gwyneth studied medicine at University College Hospital Medical School in London and worked both in the UK and abroad in a number of roles before joining the Department of Health. She is an accredited consultant in public health medicine, a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners and, in recognition of her work to improve women’s and newborn health has been awarded a Fellowship ad eundum of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a Doctorate of Science. The White Ribbon Alliance and other organisations have also honoured her.

Her e-mail address is