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This content is taken from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's online course, Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds WENDY GRAHAM: By 2030, the global target for women dying in pregnancy and childbirth is 70 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is a considerable decline from the estimated level in 2015 of 216, and requires a marked acceleration of the rate of progress from what was achieved during the Millennium Development Goal era. During this week, we have gained an understanding that maternal health covers a wide range of outcomes, from death to complete well-being, and that the burden of poor health is borne disproportionately by low income countries and by the most marginalised groups of women.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds This inequity requires strategic approaches which address both the supply and demand for good quality maternal health care, whilst also protecting women from over-intervention, particularly in the case of Caesarean section. Learners will have come to appreciate the shift in pattern in maternal morbidity with the recent growth of non-communicable diseases impacting on pregnancy and childbirth, and how the future prevents both this sort of new challenge as well as new opportunities for progress such as the use of communication technology and greater attention to respectfulness as a key component of good quality care.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds Progress towards the targets for maternal health of the Sustainable Development Goals, however, do not just depend on the health sector, but also contributions from multiple sectors such as education, social development, and women’s rights, as well as finance and the WASH sector, meaning water, sanitation, hygiene. This emphasises the well-known phrase that maternal health is more than a medical issue, it is ultimately a global responsibility, and one which necessitates global awareness of the scope, drivers, interventions, and consequences of poor maternal health. We hope this week has made a strong contribution to increasing this awareness. Next week we will explore the priority of challenges in neonatal health.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds Please join us as we learn about the priorities that must be addressed to improve the health of very young babies.

Summary of Week 3

We have now reached the end of Week 3. We have learnt that by 2030 the Sustainable Development Goal target is to reduce maternal mortality to less than 70/100,000 live births and that to reach this goal there need to be marked acceleration in progress. We have also gained an understanding of the wide range of outcomes in maternal health, from death to complete wellbeing, and that the greatest burden of maternal morbidity and mortality is in low income countries and for marginalised women.

Reaching the Sustainable Development Goal target will require strategic approaches addressing supply and demand while protecting women from over intervention. Maternal health is more than a medical issue and therefore requires a multi-sectoral approach. It is a global responsibility which necessitates an awareness of its scope, drivers, and consequences. We hope this week has contributed to increasing this awareness.

In Week 4 we will be examining a topic intimately related to maternal health: stillbirths and newborn health.

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This video is from the free online course:

Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine