A sexual and reproductive health and justice policy agenda must be at the heart of the COVID-19 response. The response must ensure that universal health coverage includes pregnant women, adolescents, and marginalised groups and must designate sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and community health centres as essential health providers, reallocating resources accordingly.
Community-based Savings Groups, Women's Agency, and Maternal Health Service Utilisation: Evidence From Mozambiqueby Tura et al
This study, using data collected as part of an ongoing programme evaluation, investigates whether participation in Saving Groups (SGs)-a community-owned microfinance intervention focused on poor households - is associated with maternal health service utilisation, and whether this association is mediated by women's agency - as measured by self-efficacy and decision-making autonomy. This study suggests that the impact of SG membership on use of maternal health services goes beyond improvements in household income and may operate through women's agency by giving women the ability to realize their preference for quality health care.
Effective Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programming Among Rohingya Refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh: Implementation Challenges and Potential Solutionsby Sarker et al
This study explores the challenges and potential solutions for effective implementation of maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) programs for FDMNs residing in camps of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Findings suggest that providing healthcare in an emergency setting has several associated challenges. Considering the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) as the base for identifying different challenges and their potential solutions at a different level of the program can prove to be an excellent asset for the program implementers in designing their plans. Two additional domains, context, and security should be included in the CFIR framework for any humanitarian settings.
Home childbirth among young mothers aged 15-24 years in Nigeria: a national population-based cross-sectional studyby Adewuyi et al
A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) was done to estimate the prevalence and identify factors associated with home childbirth (delivery) among young mothers aged 15-24 years in Nigeria. Findings suggest that young mothers aged 15-24 years had a higher prevalence of home delivery than the national average for all women of reproductive age in Nigeria.
Post-partum family planning in Burkina Faso (Yam Daabo): a two group, multi-intervention, single-blinded, cluster-randomised controlled trial.by Taon Tran et al
This study assessed the effect of a family planning intervention package on modern contraceptive use at 12 months post partum in predominantly rural Burkina Faso. Findings suggest that a package of six low-technology interventions, aimed at strengthening existing primary health-care services and enhancing demand for these services, can effectively increase modern contraceptive use for up to a year post partum in rural settings in Burkina Faso and has the potential to be suitable in similar settings in this country and others.
Prophylactic antibiotics in the prevention of infection after operative vaginal delivery (ANODE): a multicentre randomised controlled trialby Knight et al
The authors aimed to investigate whether antibiotic prophylaxis prevented maternal infection after operative vaginal birth. In a blinded, randomised controlled trial done at 27 UK obstetric units, women (aged ≥16 years) were allocated to receive a single dose of intravenous amoxicillin and clavulanic acid or placebo (saline) following operative vaginal birth at 36 weeks gestation or later. The primary outcome was confirmed or suspected maternal infection within 6 weeks of delivery defined by a new prescription of antibiotics for specific indications, confirmed systemic infection on culture, or endometritis. This trial shows benefit of a single dose of prophylactic antibiotic after operative vaginal birth and guidance from WHO and other national organisations should be changed to reflect this.
An mHealth SMS intervention on Postpartum Contraceptive Use Among Women and Couples in Kenya: A Randomized Controlled Trialby Harrington et al.
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of 2-way short message service (SMS) with a nurse on postpartum contraceptive use among individual women and couples. The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial at 2 public hospitals in western Kenya. Findings suggest that the two-way SMS with a nurse, including optional male participation, increased postpartum contraceptive use.
Effect of Addition of an Intimate Partner Violence Intervention to a Nurse Home Visitation Program on Maternal Quality of Life A Randomized Clinical Trialby Jack et al
This cluster randomised trial assessed whether augmentation of a nurse home visitation program with an intimate partner violence intervention, starting in pregnancy, compared with the home visitation program alone, leads to improved maternal quality of life at 24 months after infant delivery? The trial included 492 pregnant women, randomization to the augmented program compared with nurse home visitation alone resulted in maternal quality-of-life scores at 24 months postdelivery of 311.3 vs 316.2 (measured using the WHOQOL-BREF scale; range, 0-400)—a difference that was not statistically significant. These findings do not support augmenting a nurse home visitation program with this complex, multifaceted intimate partner violence intervention.
What maternal morbidities are and what they mean for women: A thematic analysis of twenty years of qualitative research in low and lower-middle income countriesby Lange et al
As part of the WHO’s Maternal Morbidity Working Group’s efforts to define and measure maternal morbidity, the authors carried out a thematic analysis of the qualitative literature published between 1998 and 2017 on how women experience maternal morbidity in low and lower-middle income countries. Analysis of the 71 papers included in this study shows that women’s status, their marital relationships, cultural attitudes towards fertility and social responses to infertility and pregnancy trauma are fundamental to determining how they will experience morbidity in the pregnancy and postpartum periods.
Assessing the role of women's autonomy and acceptability of intimate-partner violence in maternal health-care utilization in 63 low- and middle-income countries.by Sripad et al
This study investigates the associations between women's autonomy and attitudes toward the acceptability of intimate-partner violence against women (IPVAW) and maternal health-care utilization outcomes. The findings suggest that strong and significant associations exist between autonomy, acceptability of IPVAW and utilization of maternal health-care services.
Neurodevelopmental milestones and associated behaviours are similar among healthy children across diverse geographical locationsby INTERGROWTH-21st
The latest findings from the international INTERGROWTH-21st Project, that has monitored healthy, urban children from educated families across four continents from early pregnancy to 2 years of age, show that human neurodevelopment is not influenced by the colour of an individual’s skin.
Health systems' capacity to provide post-abortion care: a multicountry analysis using signal functionsby Owolabi OO et al
The study authors did a multicountry analysis of data from nationally representative Service Provision Assessment surveys done between 2007 to 2017 in ten countries across three regions (Bangladesh, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda). Findings suggest that there are critical gaps in the provision of post-abortion care at all facilities that offer delivery services. In seven (70%) of ten countries, less than 10% of primary-level facilities could provide basic post-abortion care, and in eight (80%) of ten countries less than 40% of referral-level facilities could provide comprehensive post-abortion care. In no country could all referral facilities provide all the essential services that need to be included in basic post-abortion care. Increasing the provision of good-quality post-abortion care is essential to reduce the level of abortion-related morbidity and mortality.
How much do conditional cash transfers increase the utilization of maternal and child health care services? New evidence from Janani Suraksha Yojana in India.by Rahman MM et al
Janani Suraksha Yojana (safe motherhood scheme, or JSY) provides cash incentives to marginal pregnant women in India conditional on having mainly institutional delivery. Using the fourth round of district level household survey (DLHS-4), we have estimated its effects on both intended and unintended outcomes. Our estimates of average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) from propensity score matching are remarkably higher than those found in previous prominent studies using the second and third rounds of the survey (DLHS-2 and DLHS-3). When we apply fuzzy regression discontinuity design exploiting the second birth order, our estimates of local average treatment effect (LATE) are much higher than that of ATT. For example, due to JSY, institutional delivery increases by around 16 percentage points according to ATT estimate but about 23 percentage points according to LATE estimate.
Global Abortion Policies Database: a new approach to strengthening knowledge on laws, policies, and human rights standardsby Ronald Johnson Jr et al
The GAPD is a comprehensive tool that can be used to strengthen knowledge, inform law and policy research to generate evidence on the impact of laws and policies in practice, and facilitate greater awareness of the many challenges to creating enabling policy environments for safe abortion.
The magnitude and severity of abortion-related morbidity in settings with limited access to abortion services: a systematic review and meta-regressionby Calvert et al
This systematic review aims to estimate the magnitude and severity of complications associated with abortion in areas where access to abortion is limited, with a particular focus on potentially life-threatening complications. In spite of the challenges on how near miss morbidity has been defined and measured in the included studies, our results suggest that a substantial percentage of abortion-related hospital admissions have potentially life-threatening complications. Estimates that are more reliable will only be obtained with increased use of standard definitions such as the WHO near-miss criteria and/or better reporting of clinical criteria applied in studies.
Impact of integrating a postpartum family planning program into a community-based maternal and newborn health program on birth spacing and preterm birth in rural Bangladeshby Baqui et al
In a quasi-experimental trial design, unions with an average population of about 25 000 and a first level health facility were allocated to an intervention arm (n = 4) to receive integrated post-partum family planning and maternal and newborn health (PPFP-MNH) interventions, or to a control arm (n = 4) to receive the MNH interventions only. Study findings demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of integrating PPFP interventions into a community based MNH intervention package. Thus, MNH programs should consider systematically integrating PPFP as a service component to improve pregnancy spacing and reduce the risk of preterm birth.
The aim of this study was to determine whether an intervention designed to involve the male partners of pregnant women in Burkina Faso in facility-based maternity care influences care-seeking and healthy practices after childbirth. The hypothesis was that the intervention would increase postnatal care attendance, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and the use of postpartum contraception. Findings suggest that the intervention to involve male partners in maternity care was associated with an increase in attendance at postnatal care consultations, in the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and in the use of postpartum contraception, especially long-acting, reversible contraception. The intervention also had a positive effect on communication between the couple and shared decision-making related to reproductive health.
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women with prior gestational diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysisby Li et al
This study aims to investigate the effect of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) on the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Seven cohort studies with 3,417,020 pregnant women including 14,146 incident CVD events were retrieved. In the pooled analysis, women with previous GDM had a higher risk of CVD than those without.
Economic and Health Predictors of National Postpartum Depression Prevalence: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Meta-Regression of 291 Studies from 56 Countriesby Hahn-Holbrook et al
Postpartum depression (PPD) poses a major global public health challenge. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the global and national prevalence of PPD and a meta-regression to identify economic, health, social, or policy factors associated with national PPD prevalence. The global prevalence of PPD is greater than previously thought and varies dramatically by nation. Disparities in wealth inequality and maternal-child-health factors explain much of the national variation in PPD prevalence.
Countdown to 2030: tracking progress towards universal coverage for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child healthby Countdown to 2030 Collaboration
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the rate of decline in prevalence of maternal and child mortality, stillbirths, and stunting among children younger than 5 years of age needs to accelerate considerably compared with progress since 2000. Countdown to 2030 is investing in improvements in measurement in several areas, such as quality of care and effective coverage, nutrition programmes, adolescent health, early childhood development, and evidence for conflict settings, and is prioritising its regional networks to enhance local analytic capacity and evidence for RMNCH.
The aim of the study reported here is to explore professionals’ perceptions regarding intimate partner violence (IPV) among young people, focusing on the characteristics of the phenomenon and their perceptions about existing programmes and campaigns aimed at addressing it. The study participants showed good knowledge of the characteristics IPV has among young people. This knowledge was reflected in locally implemented IPV prevention projects, which they considered successful in addressing young people’s needs. However, these interventions lacked formal evaluation, political support and continuation. The study participants did not believe that nationwide mass media campaigns realistically reflected the specific characteristics of IPV among young people. Thus, participants perceived these campaigns to be ineffective.
The aim of this review was to assess the scope of the published literature on the consequences of maternal morbidity on health-related functioning at the global level and identify key substantive findings as well as research and methodological gaps. Many assessments have not been comprehensive and have paid little attention to important functioning domains for pregnant and postpartum women. The development of a comprehensive instrument specific to maternal health would greatly advance our understanding of burden of ill health associated with maternal morbidity and help set priorities. The lack of attention to consequences on functioning associated with the main direct obstetric complications is of particular concern.
Evidence-based policy responses to strengthen health, community and legislative systems that care for women in Australia with female genital mutilation / cuttingby Varol N et al
This article reviews the literature on research on FGM/C in Australia, which focuses on health system response to women and girls with FGM/C. Recommendations are made for policy reform in health, legislation, and community programs to provide the best healthcare, protect children, and help communities abandon this harmful practice. Findings suggest that countries of migration can be part of the solution for abandonment of FGM/C through community interventions and implementation of national and coordinated training in FGM/C of experts involved in the care and protection of children and women. The global focus on collaboration on research, training and prevention programs should be fostered between countries of FGM/C prevalence and migration.
Effectiveness of community health workers delivering preventive interventions for maternal and child health in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic reviewby Gilmore et al
This review reports findings on a systematic review analysing effectiveness of preventive interventions delivered by Community Health Workers for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries. Community Health Workers were shown to provide a range of preventive interventions for Maternal and Child Health in low- and middle-income countries with some evidence of effective strategies, though insufficient evidence is available to draw conclusions for most interventions and further research is needed.
Obstetric fistula is an important global health issue that negatively affects the lives of countless women, and the team highlight what can be done to prevent and treat fistula.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan experienced a tumultuous period of democracy overshadowed by conflict, widespread insurgency, and an inflow of development assistance. Although there have been several cross-sectional assessments of health gains over the last decade, there has been no systematic analysis of progress and factors influencing maternal and child health in Afghanistan. Despite conflict and poverty, Afghanistan has made reasonable progress in its reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health indicators over the last decade based on contributions of factors within and outside the health sector. However, equitable access to health care remains a challenge and present delivery models have high transactional costs, affecting sustainability.
Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: key messages from Disease Control Priorities 3rd Editionby Black et al
As part of Disease Control Priorities 3rd Edition, the World Bank will publish a volume on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health that identifies essential cost-effective health interventions that can be scaled up to reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths, and stillbirths. This Review summarises the volume's key findings and estimates the effect and cost of expanded implementation of these interventions. Recognising that a continuum of care from the adolescent girl, woman, or mother to child is needed, the volume includes details of preventive and therapeutic health interventions in integrated packages: Maternal and Newborn Health and Child Health (along with folic acid supplementation, a key reproductive health intervention).
Exploring the relationship between socioeconomic factors, method of contraception and unintended pregnancyby Metcalfe et al
This study aimed to assess the impact of socioeconomic variables and method of contraception on the decision to either terminate or continue and unintended pregnancy. Low educational attainment was associated with not using any form of contraception among women with unintended pregnancies. However, as unintended pregnancy occurs across all socio-demographic groups, care providers are encouraged to have an open discussion regarding fertility goals and contraception with all patients and refer them to appropriate resource materials.
A seminar presented by Dr Jalemba Aluvaala in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford
Damalie Nakanjako (MBChB, MMED, PhD) is an internist whose work focuses on optimizing HIV treatment outcomes and reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.
Postnatal growth standards for preterm infants: the Preterm Postnatal Follow-up Study of the INTERGROWTH-21st Projectby INTERGROWTH-21st
The first international stnadards for monitroing the growth of preterm babies have now been published in the Lancet Global Health (October 2015).
The EMPOWER Program (EMpowering Progress in Obstetric and Women's hEalth Research) is now accepting research proposals related to preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy from young investigators in low resource settings. Letters of Intent are due November 15, 2015. Thereafter, projects deemed feasible will be invited to submit full applications by April 15, 2016. The grant recipient will be announced in October 2016 at the World Congress of the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy (ISSHP).
The articles in this collection examine the evidence and the thinking that form the basis of the new global strategy.
This study aim to estimate the 10- and 20-year mortality from breast cancer following a diagnosis of DCIS and to establish whether the mortality rate is influenced by age at diagnosis, ethnicity, and initial treatment received. Findings suggest that important risk factors for death from breast cancer following a DCIS diagnosis include age at diagnosis and black ethnicity. The risk of death increases after a diagnosis of an ipsilateral second primary invasive breast cancer, but prevention of these recurrences by radiotherapy does not diminish breast cancer mortality at 10 years.
Girls' and women's health is in transition and, although some aspects of it have improved substantially in the past few decades, there are still important unmet needs. Population ageing and transformations in the social determinants of health have increased the coexistence of disease burdens related to reproductive health, nutrition, and infections, and the emerging epidemic of chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Simultaneously, worldwide priorities in women's health have themselves been changing from a narrow focus on maternal and child health to the broader framework of sexual and reproductive health and to the encompassing concept of women's health, which is founded on a life-course approach.
What is the optimal rate of caesarean section at population level? A systematic review of ecologic studiesby Betran et al
The authors conducted a systematic review to identify, critically appraise and synthesize the analyses of the ecologic association between CS rates and maternal, neonatal and infant outcomes. The findings suggest that at CS rates below this threshold, socio-economic development may be driving the ecologic association between CS rates and mortality. On the other hand, at rates higher than this threshold, there is no association between CS and mortality outcomes regardless of adjustment. The ecological association between CS rates and relevant morbidity outcomes needs to be evaluated before drawing more definite conclusions at population level.
The progress in key maternal health indicators in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) over the past two decades has been slow. This paper analyzed available information on nutrition programs and nutrition-specific interventions targeting maternal nutrition in the ESAR and proposes steps to improve maternal nutrition in this region. Findings from the review suggest that multiple nutrition programs are in place in the ESAR; including programs that directly address nutrition indicators and those that integrate corresponding sectors like agriculture, health, education, and water and sanitation. However, their scale and depth differ considerably. These programs have been implemented by a diverse range of players including respective government ministries, international agencies, non government organisations and the private sector in the region. Most of these programs are clustered in a few countries like Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia while others e.g. Comoros, Somalia and Swaziland have only had a limited number of initiatives.
Dr Nat Segaren - Medical Director of the Caris Foundation, presents on 'The Haiti National Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV Program'
In celebration of Global Health Trials' fifth birthday (May 11th 2015) Professor Trudie Lang, Principal Investigator of the programme, talks to us about why Global Health Trials was started, why people should share their experience, and what the future holds.
A review of e-health interventions for maternal and child health (MCH) to explore their influence on MCH practices in sub-Sahara Africa found a total of 18 relevant articles. Findings suggeswt that there is a need to move the application of ICT for MCH care from pilot initiatives to interventions involving all stakeholders on a sub-regional scale. These interventions should also adopt an integrated approach that takes care of the information needs at every stage along the continuum of care. It is anticipated that the study would be useful in the evolution and implementation of future ICT-based programmes for MCH in the region.
Rubella remains an important pathogen worldwide, with roughly 100 000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome estimated to occur every year. This seminar present results regarding rubella control, elimination, and eradication policies, and a brief review of new laboratory diagnostics.
Breastfeeding practice and associated factors among female nurses and midwives at North Gondar Zone, Northwest Ethiopia. A Cross sectional institution based study.by Berihun Assefa Dachew, Behanu Boru Bifftu
The increasing consumption of sugar worldwide seems to lead to several health problems, including some types of cancer. This study examined the association of sweet foods and drinks intake with mammographic density among 776 premenopausal and 779 postmenopausal women recruited at mammography. The results suggest that an increase in sweet foods or sugar-sweetened beverage intake is associated with higher mammographic density.
In 2013, the WHO released a new set of guidelines on the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS. The new guidelines suggests that all pregnant women who test positive for HIV should immediately begin a course of triple ARVs, regardless of CD4 cell levels.
Moleen Zunza is a member of the Global Research Nurses' network and is part of the team that has published this systematic review.
The recent BMC Public Health supplement “The Lives Saved Tool in 2013: new capabilities and applications” has been published. The series comprise of 30 papers focusing on various domains of maternal child health with a special focus on the interventions reviewed for the prevention and management of childhood diarrhea and penumonia.
The Lancet publishes a special themed issue to coincide with the third Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 28–30, 2013. Women Deliver brings together voices from around the world to generate political commitment and resource investments to improve the health and well-being of girls and women and achieve universal access to reproductive health. The studies published in The Lancet's themed issue use different methods to show the multidimensional nature of reproductive health and the influence of social determinants and health systems.
Translating Coverage Gains into Health Gains for All Women and Children: The Quality Care Opportunityby Jai K Das
The health outcomes of women and children have not matched expectations from the gains in the coverage of care. Robust evidence exists for one explanatory factor: the poor–rich gaps in coverage found along the continuum of care for women and children, and particularly for the crucial period around childbirth. The more-neglected explanation for the mismatch between coverage and health outcomes is the quality of the care provided to women and children. The following paper is structured around a key cause and a consequence of the neglect of quality—weak measurement and poor evidence for action—and concludes with priorities for seizing the quality care opportunity.