Subject Guide: Maternal & Child Health, Reproductive Health and Family Planning

Kenyan nurse attends mother and child

Access to the best available prenatal and childbirth care is the basic right of every pregnant woman and newborn. Organizations such as The World Bank and USAID recognize that saving the lives of mothers is imperative for social and economic development, as well as human rights. The estimates for maternal deaths worldwide was over 500,000 for the year 2005.[1] However, if all women had access to family planning and reproductive health services, a large percentage of these deaths could be avoided entirely. Furthermore, intervention programs to reduce maternal death also contribute significantly to reducing newborn mortality. Despite a general consensus that maternal mortality and morbidity cannot be reduced without midwives, the numbers of these skilled providers have not significantly increased over the last two decades; in some countries, the actual numbers of skilled midwifery providers has even started to decline.[2]

Addressing the Issue

In addition to resources concerning maternal and child health topics and reproductive health, the HRH Global Resource Center includes materials on the related topics of family planning, emergency obstetric care, midwifery and skilled attendance.

Recommended reading:

[1] World Bank. Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health. Accessed on October 29, 2008.

[2] Human Resources for Health. Human Resources for Maternal Health: Multi-Purpose or Specialists?. Accessed on October 29, 2008.