Call for Papers: Integrating Health Care to Meet the Needs of the Mother–Infant Pair

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By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health Initiative

Image credit: Jack Zalium, Flickr

The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and PLOS Medicine are committed to creating a platform for sharing critical evidence for approaches to improving maternal health around the world. The two organizations are also committed to ensuring that this important evidence is free and accessible for all. Last week, the two organizations published a joint editorial and call for papers in PLOS Medicine for the third year of the special collection of open-access research on maternal health, themed Integrating health care to meet the needs of the mother–infant pair.

The editorial and call for papers mark the third year of partnership between the MHTF and PLOS Medicine. In the first year, the MHTF-PLOS collection focused on the Quality of maternal health care and included 18 original articles, examining issues relating to the quality of care provided to women in various geographic settings and under various circumstances. In the second year, the collection was titled Maternal health is women’s health, and included 30 original articles that took a closer look at the connections between maternal health and women’s health more broadly. Together, the year 1 and 2 collections have contributed to a stronger evidence base for approaches to improving the quality of maternal health care, and for addressing women’s health challenges throughout the lifespan that influence or are influenced by maternal health.

From the editorial:

This year, under the theme Integrating health care to meet the needs of the mother–infant pair, we aim to strengthen the evidence for approaches to providing integrated care from pre-conception, throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period, to the child’s early days and years of life. Through this collection, we will contribute to a better understanding of how and when to integrate maternal and infant health care comprehensively, to include conditions such as HIV, malaria, exposure to environmental risks, and other situations that have a significant impact on both maternal and infant health.

According to the editorial, the two organizations selected this year’s theme for three main reasons:

  1. To provide a platform for dissemination of new evidence on integration and the continuum of care
  2. To offer a venue for information sharing and analyses of conditions that affect mothers and infants
  3. To discuss the role of integration in the context of universal health coverage (UHC) in the post-2015 development agenda

The call for papers shared three examples of the kinds of papers the organizers hope to include in the year 3 collection:

  1. Robust analyses of health outcomes resulting from successful and unsuccessful efforts to offer integrated care.
  2. Innovative approaches to identifying and addressing health needs along the continuum of care.
  3. Results and analyses of programs that comprehensively address maternal and newborn health care in the context of programs and services primarily focused on other conditions, such as HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and environmental health.

Read the full editorial and call for papers here.

Articles will stand the best chance of inclusion in the year 3 collection if they are submitted by April 1st, 2014.

On December 11th 2013 from 11am to 1230pm EST, the MHTF and PLOS Medicine will host a special event, Improving maternal health: Insights from around the world, at Harvard School of Public Health to showcase several key papers from the year 2 collection, and to offer a platform for dialogue around the year 3 call for papers.

We welcome your participation in the dialogue on Dec. 11th in person or on Twitter! #MHTFPLOS

For questions about this event or the MHTF-PLOS collection in general, please contact Kate Mitchell.