Welcome to the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference 2015!

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By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultant

The Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City is here! The conference kicks off with a welcome from the conference’s co-chairs, Koki Agarwal, Director of USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP); MHTF Director Ana Langer and Joy Riggs-Perla, Director of Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program. Leaders from around the world will join them in offering reflections on efforts to improve maternal and newborn health around the world. This will include insights from Mexico, the conference’s host country, where remarkable progress has been achieved across both maternal and newborn health.

After tonight’s launch, the conference program will begin early tomorrow, with a full calendar of plenary sessions, panels, posters, demonstrations, auxiliary sessions and launches of new findings around the themes of integration, equity and quality of maternal and newborn health, following six tracks:

  1. Innovating to Accelerate Impact at Scale
    The focus of sessions in this track will be on new responses to persistent challenges, from technologies that hold promise for addressing gaps in coverage of basic services, to innovative approaches to service delivery, implementation experiences for delivering promising, high-impact interventions at scale, and innovative strategies to address systems bottlenecks.
  2. Measuring for Evaluation and Accountability
    What new approaches hold promise for filling gaps in maternal and newborn health data? How can measurement methods be tailored to address sensitive and stigmatized conditions? Sessions in this track will address these issues, as well as improvements in quality and coverage of vital registration systems, clinical records, community-based data collection and other critical issues for designing, gathering and using high quality evidence.
  3. Bridging Equity Divides
    Inequities in service coverage and health outcomes persist as fundamental challenges. Sessions in this track will address issues of equity across programs, research, and advocacy, and present evidence on questions ranging from the role of new financing mechanisms in bridging gaps to ensure that quality care is available to all, community engagement in holding governments and others accountable for securing equitable access to high impact interventions.
  4. Generating New Evidence to Fill Critical Knowledge Gaps
    Sessions in this track will highlight findings related to integrated delivery and quality of maternal and newborn health services.  This will include presentations of new findings and reviews of emerging evidence drawn from a range of program experiences, evaluations, advocacy and in-depth research that captures both successes and failures in the ongoing effort to understand and address persistent and new challenges.
  5. Strengthening Demand for Health Care
    What shapes women, families and communities decisions to seek basic health services? What role do barriers such as stigma, discrimination and other forms of disrespect and abuse in health centers play in limiting demand for services? Sessions under this track will explore the evidence on prevalence of such barriers, as well as emerging lessons from interventions that focus on communities, health providers, and others to support women in claiming the care they need.
  6. Increasing Health Systems’ Capacity to Respond to Population Needs
    Advancing maternal and newborn health outcomes depends on national health systems’ capacity to support effective delivery of high quality, high impact interventions. Sessions in this track will address a variety of issues, including policies and practices for training, motivating and supporting health care workforces, evidence on progress toward securing equitable access to lifesaving commodities at national scale – and across both urban and rural settings. They will also address evidence on quality improvement, innovations in financing and other strategies for building systems that work for all.