Maternal Health Task Force

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Lancet Midwifery Series to Launch at the End of June

By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

During the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) congress this week in Prague, The Lancet announced its plan to launch a new series—Midwifery.

The Lancet publications play a critical role in increasing the evidence base and setting priorities for global health. The Lancet’s Midwifery series comes at a critical time as targets and strategies are being formulated for the post-2015, or Sustainable Development, Goals. These goals will set the stage for global health priorities from now until 2030. The Midwifery series will provide global leaders and communities with the data and strategies needed to strengthen the midwifery work force. This is vital since midwives have been identified as critical to decreasing preventable maternal and newborn deaths—currently a Sustainable Development Goals  priority. In addition, the series is timely in urging midwives as a solution to the split maternal health environment of over-medicalization and lack of interventions.

The Midwifery series was formulated to bring all available evidence on midwifery into one place. It uses the ICM global standards, competences, and tools as springboards to other aspects of the series. The series is truly multidisciplinary as it unites midwives with statisticians, epidemiologists, economists, and other disciplines. Series papers and strategies take a holistic approach, as they address not only the perspective of what women, children, and communities need, but also how to implement strategies as a complete package, inrather than individually. Professor Address Maleta, Malawian Vice President elect of the ICM, said we should not be looking at women’s health alone, but must take an integrated approach to policy and program development.

The Lancet Midwifery series includes:

  1. A unified framework for maternal, newborn, and child health
  2. Impact of scaling up midwifery and rolling out the intervention framework on lives-saved
  3. Lessons learned from countries where midwifery schemes have been scaled up
  4. Mapping evidence gaps and proposing a research agenda to strengthen health systems
  5. International policy brief to encourage global maternal health leaders to assess what really works for improving maternal and neonatal health
  6. Improving the quality of maternal and newborn health through midwifery
  7. Expanding the view of maternal health care to human rights by addressing disrespect and abuse of both women and providers

The series launches June 23rd from London and will be available through open access in The Lancet. Join the social media campaign that will run from launch through September 2014. #LancetMidwifery @MidwiferyAction

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