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Summary of Week 3

Summary of the week's learning and key issues in the field of maternal health from Dr Veronique Filippi.
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VERONIQUE FILIPPI: In 2007, close to 280,000 woman died in childbirth, mostly in low income countries. And while substantial progress has been made in reducing these number of maternal death, particularly in the last 10 years. There is still a lot more progress that could be made. During this week, we looked at why, and where, and how woman died, and we looked at solutions to improve maternal survival. We discussed that quality of care is a very important topic in the future, as well as accountability, and chronic disease, and lifestyle factors, which may influence maternal mortality in the future, for example, obesity or diabetes. Maternal health is a very vast topic.
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We covered only some of the issues, but we hope that this weeks will inspire you in learning further and applying some of the messages that we tried to convey this week to your own setting, either as an advocate, a teacher, or a researcher, or a practitioner.
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Next week, we will consider neonatal mortality. About 6.7 million children die before their fifth birthday in low income countries and half of those kind of first months of their life. Here again, a lot of knowledge has been acquired, and we will learn next week what could be done to help produced this tool.

In 2013, close to 280,000 women lost their lives in childbirth. Most of these deaths occurred in low-income countries. While we have seen substantial progress in the reduction of the numbers of deaths since the early 1990s and particularly in the past 10 years, there is still a great deal more to achieve by 2030. Safe motherhood advocates often state that ‘we know what to do’. It is true that we know a great deal about the interventions needed to promote maternal survival, and what we need now is the ‘know-how’ to deliver these interventions to the women who need them in the most efficient manner.

Several topics this week looked at how, why, and when mothers die, what can be done to save them and how we can reduce adverse effects to their health. Future priorities will very much focus on improvements to quality of care, increasing accountability, and addressing not just obstetric complications but also chronic, sometimes debilitating health conditions such as postpartum depression and diabetes.

The subject of maternal health is vast, and we are aware that we could not cover all topics. Nevertheless, we hope that those covered will boost your interest in this area and help you to become more involved in maternal health, as an advocate, practitioner, researcher or teacher.

Week 4 will explore the priority challenges in neonatal health. Despite significant progress in reducing childhood mortality there are still more than 6.7 million deaths of children under five every year, and almost half of these occur in the first month of life. Please join us to learn about the priorities that must be addressed to improve the health of very young babies.

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Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action

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