In an effort to strengthen bridges between the maternal and newborn health communities, Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) and the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) convened a technical consultation in September 2014 entitled Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: In Pursuit of Quality. This meeting brought together more than 50 key members of the maternal and newborn health communities to identify opportunities at the policy and program level for integration to improve quality of care during the antenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal periods. Needs of donors and technical assistance agencies were also addressed.
There was widespread agreement among the participants that now is the time to dig into the universe of opportunities that integration offers to improve health outcomes for mothers and newborns. At the same time, some voices cautioned that much needs to be done in terms of implementation science to know how best to integrate programs and policies and that mindsets need to shift among all of us—from donors and researchers to program implementers and policymakers—in order to consider the role and benefits of integration, understand when it makes sense to integrate care, and how best to do so. To move the integration agenda forward in concrete and practical terms, meeting participants created a list of recommended actions listed in this report.