The Promise of 2011 for Maternal Health

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By: Dr. Ann Blanc, Director, MHTF

2010 was an important year for maternal health with many technical advances, policy commitments, and high level international attention to maternal deaths and morbidity. But 2011 promises to be even more important as all of these new advances are realized around the world. Here at the MHTF, we are enthusiastically anticipating seeing and sharing the results of the many projects we’re supporting.

The 15 Young Champions of Maternal Health are now deeply involved in learning their field better in anticipation of returning to their countries and launching a wide range of innovative projects. Global Voices for Maternal Health – a ground breaking crowd sourcing project – has now gathered 2000 responses from health practitioners in 91 countries detailing their views on the barriers they face in implementing evidence-based practices and the solutions they have created. A Clean Birth Kits community of practice is about to complete its work having produced several comprehensive evidence reviews and a soon-to-be published guide to help program managers make decisions on whether and how to introduce birth kits into health systems.

We are collaborating with several groups to move forward on improving the monitoring of maternal health, including improving coverage estimates for c-sections (with Harvard School of Public Health) and maternal morbidity (with Rajarata University), and reviewing and validating an intrapartum stillbirth indicator (with GAPPS). The promise of mobile health applications is also being realized in many ways and places around the world. The MHTF is supporting mobile health projects in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia with more to come in 2011. We also plan to continue the Woodrow Wilson Policy Dialogue Series in 2011 with a new twist – stay tuned for more information! Our website will see many improvements over the next several months including new French, Spanish, and Arabic versions.

If you’re not already registered on the site, please join us. By doing so, you can stay apprised of the latest developments in maternal health through our biweekly ‘Buzz’ and our monthly newsletters. As 2011 begins, we are optimistic about the vital maternal health community and the possibilities of eradicating preventable maternal mortality in our lifetimes.