Special Issues of Two Journals Focus on Dimensions of Maternal Health

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By Sarah Blake, MHTF

Two journals, the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health have recently published special issues that compile new research and commentary on maternal health. The articles collected in the American Journal of Public Health focus on disparities in health outcomes of mothers and babies and their links to broader social and economic inequalities, while the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health focuses on the assessing the findings of a specific intervention: the Maternal and Newborn Health in Ethiopia Partnership (MaNHEP), a three-year, pilot project intervention implemented in rural Ethiopia.

Together, the two issues explore a rich set of new findings on major determinants of maternal and newborn health, often highlighting the links between the two. Among the highlights of the American Journal of Public Health issue include evidence on social and economic determinants of disparities in maternal morbidity in California and social determinants of access to maternal health services in Pakistan.

The articles compiled in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health explore a number of elements of the project, while presenting potential lessons for future interventions. As Marge Koblinsky writes in a commentary introducing the nine articles that make up the collection:

 Taken together, these articles represent a significant contribution to the field of maternal and child survival in poor, rural communities in developing countries. These articles touch on a key need in many countries: how to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality through community-level efforts. MaNHEP achieved this through a combination of methods not used typically for community interventions: participatory skills-based maternal and newborn health training targeting pregnant women and their caregivers and collaborative improvement. Practitioners, scholars, and students will find valuable insights and lessons in this special issue.