New Blog Series: Examining the “big questions” in maternal health measurement

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By: Staff, Maternal Health Task Force

In the fight to end preventable maternal mortality worldwide, measurement may not be the most pressing task on every maternal health professional’s mind. However, without relevant, useful, and valid measures, tracking progress towards goals is impossible. Maternal and newborn health measurement may sound like a complicated and highly technical field but there are some surprisingly simple questions at its core. Who should decide what gets measured? How do we evaluate and choose among available indicators? How can measurement quality be balanced with measurement feasibility? How can measurement lead to accountability for improved health and upheld rights?

In pursuit of answers to these “big questions” in maternal and newborn health measurement, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) is launching a new blog series in collaboration with the Improving Maternal Health Measurement Capacity and Use (IMHM) project, a project of Harvard’s Woman & Health Initiative. The IMHM project aims to strengthen maternal health metrics and measurement capacity to advance the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global “Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM),” which outlines targets and strategies for all countries to reduce maternal mortality during the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) period. IMHM project activities include work to develop, refine, test, and validate relevant indicators in the EPMM framework and collaborating closely with countries to promote the adoption of relevant indicators, with the ultimate goal of ensuring robust measurement tools and knowledge to provide vital data for tracking progress towards ending preventable maternal mortality.

In a series of four blogs, MHTF and IMHM will highlight the importance of measurement for ending preventable maternal mortality, current challenges for the field, and potential strategies to overcome these challenges. We hope you will join us in our exploration of some of the “big questions” in maternal and newborn health measurement.

Who decides what matters in maternal and newborn health measurement?

“What gets measured is what matters.” This saying raises the question: who decides what matters? ­­ Establishing global targets and strategies can help countries galvanize political will, global and domestic funding, and focus attention on improving maternal health…
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