Further Integration: The latest update to the MHTF & PLOS Maternal Health Collection

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This blog post originally appeared on blogs.plos.org

In November 2013, PLOS Medicine and the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) called for submissions to the third year of the MHTF-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health. Today we announce an exciting new update to the Year 3 Collection, including original 11 research articles and a policy forum, all recently published in PLOS.

This continued collaboration between the MHTF at Harvard School of Public Health and PLOS Medicine is reflected in this latest collection update, highlighting recently published work that ties in with the current theme, “Integrating Health Care to Meet the Needs of the Mother–Infant Pair”. Image credit: Jack Zalium, Flickr

Chosen with the aim to contribute to a better understanding of how and when to comprehensively integrate maternal and infant health care, this year’s theme includes work on conditions such as HIV, malaria, exposure to environmental risks, and other situations that have a significant impact on both maternal and infant health.

Featured work in this latest update

A policy forum by Jenny Hill and colleagues highlights the importance of prioritizing pregnant women, as a high risk group, for delivery of long lasting insecticide treated nets through antenatal clinics. Delivering free or subsidized long-lasting insecticide treated nets (or vouchers) to pregnant women is a key approach for controlling malaria and increases coverage and use by both pregnant women and their infants.

Published in August, a cross-sectional survey, conducted by Joseph Sam Kanu et al., focused on knowledge and the reported practices of women in rural Sierra Leone. Interviewing women with children of <5 years, they collected and calculated the scores to assess knowledge and current practices. Results showed that the knowledge of maternal and child health held by many women in the country is significantly inadequate. The authors have suggested increasing health promotion activities in order to ensure women are well-informed on various health and environmental issues for the sake of their health and that of their offspring.

Further research has concentrated on the effectiveness of a community health worker (CHWs) project for the improvement of maternal and newborn health in rural Kenya. The authors, Mary B. Adam and colleagues, used a quasi-experiment design alongside birth histories to estimate the impact of CHWs health messages on the health of women and their babies who received these messages. The women who were exposed to the health messages by CHWs held greater knowledge of maternal and newborn care and a higher proportion of these women delivered under skilled birth attendance.

Through this collection we hope to provide a platform for the dissemination of new evidence and analysis of conditions that affect both mothers and infants, whilst keeping in mind the role that the integration of care provides in the context of Universal Health Coverage in the Post-2015 development agenda.


Post authored by Jennifer Horsley, Editorial Project Coordinator, PLOS Collections