New articles on 'interconnected continuum' of mother & newborn

(May 2013)

There is widespread recognition that the health of a mother and her newborn are closely linked: most maternal and newborn deaths are caused by the poor health of the mother before or during pregnancy, or by the quality of care she and her newborn receive during and immediately after childbirth. Strategies for improving maternal and newborn health and survival are therefore closely related, and must be provided through a continuum of care approach.

In a special May 2013 issue, the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine published a study conducted by Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta and a research team from Aga Khan University in Pakistan, in collaboration with FCI, that reviewed recent and on-going research on the impact of potential interventions on maternal and newborn outcomes, with a particular emphasis on linkages between the two. The study identifies reproductive/preconception, pregnancy, intrapartum, and postnatal interventions that were found to have a positive, synergistic effect on maternal and neonatal outcomes, and then groups them into packages of care for delivery at the community, health center, or hospital levels.

As an introduction to this study, the special issue also included an editorial, written by FCI president Ann Starrs and Gary Damstadt and France Donnay of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that highlights "the profound interconnections between the survival, health and well-being of a woman and her newborn baby," and the vital importance of integrated health care for women and their newborns.

"Integration is not easy — it forces programs and stakeholders with different agendas, goals, and constituencies to work together. And yet," they write, "integration of services across the continuum of care is critical if countries are to make progress towards national health goals and strategies for women, infants and children."

As part of this collaborative project on the interconnections between maternal and newborn health, FCI has also published a set of advocacy materials, including an executive summary of the full journal paper and a pocket card, designed for advocates and policymakers, that incorporates the review findings and key messages for non-technical audiences.

  • Read the blog post by Gary Darmstadt, France Donnay, and Ann Starrs

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About FCI: Every two minutes, every single day, a woman dies needlessly from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. For a quarter century, Family Care International has worked to end this slow-motion catastrophe. In the halls of power, FCI fights for funding to save women's lives. In remote villages, FCI works with local partners and communities to raise awareness, create innovative solutions and tools, and implement effective programs. Read more...

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