The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and the Management and Development for Health (MDH) co-hosted the second Global Maternal Health Conference (GMHC2013) in Arusha, Tanzania from January 15-17, 2013. Designed as a technical meeting, GMHC2013 served as a platform for sharing data and insights, exploring new developments and innovations, identifying knowledge gaps and building consensus on strategies for improving the quality of maternal health care and, ultimately, eradicating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. With the major gains in maternal health that have been observed over the past ten years, accompanied by the looming 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals, the issue of maternal health is clearly at a crossroads: we have achieved a great deal, but it is still not clear what place maternal health will hold in the post MDG-era.
The MHTF and our GMHC2013 partners worked to ensure that it would be a galvanizing event for the ever more diverse maternal health community from the first stages of planning through the collection of feedback from conference attendees. Now, with the results of the GMHC2013 complete, it is clear that the conference’s theme, along with the conference’s spotlight on emerging issues, such as respectful maternity care and malaria in pregnancy, proved to be powerful organizing forces.