The authors aimed to assist in setting a baseline against which to assess progress towards the achievement of the World Health Assembly targets for reductions in low birth weight (LBW) prevalence. The authors collated data on 1447 country-years of birthweight data (281 million births) for 148 countries of 195 UN member states (47 countries had no data meeting inclusion criteria). The estimated worldwide LBW prevalence in 2015 was 14·6% compared with 17·5% in 2000 (average annual reduction rate 1·23%). In 2015, an estimated 20·5 million livebirths were LBW, 91% from low-and-middle income countries, mainly southern Asia (48%) and sub-Saharan Africa (24%).

29th May 2019 • comment

The conducted a scoping review of indicators proposed by global multi-stakeholder groups to suggest next steps to further support maternal and newborn measurement and monitoring. The authors identified 140 indicators linked to maternal and newborn health topics across the continuum of service provision. Fifty-five indicators relate to inputs and processes, 30 indicators relate to outputs, outcomes comprise 37 indicators in the database, and 18 impact indicators. A quarter of indicators proposed by global groups is either under development/discussion or is considered "aspirational", highlighting the currently evolving monitoring landscape. Although considerable efforts have been made to harmonize indicator recommendations, there are still relatively few indicators shared across key monitoring initiatives and some of those that are shared may have definitional variation.

1st January 2019 • comment

These findings suggest that preterm birth remains a crucial issue in child mortality and improving quality of maternal and newborn care. To better understand the epidemiology of preterm birth, the quality and volume of data needs to be improved, including standardisation of definitions, measurement, and reporting.

21st November 2018 • comment

This systematic review summarises association between short interpregnancy intervals and adverse perinatal health outcomes in high-resource settings to inform recommendations for healthy birth spacing for the United States. In high-resource settings, there is some evidence showing interpregnancy intervals <6 months since last livebirth are associated with increased risks for preterm birth, small-for-gestational age and infant death; however, results were inconsistent. Additional research controlling for confounding would further inform recommendations for healthy birth spacing for the United States.

5th November 2018 • comment
10th August 2018 • comment

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.

5th February 2018 • comment

The study assessed the effect of integrated supply- and demand-side interventions on the facility-based delivery rate. Findings suggest that an integrated supply- and demand-side intervention was associated with a substantial increase in institutional delivery. The package can be tailored to identify which combination of interventions may produce the optimum result and be scaled. Rigorous implementation research studies are needed to draw confident conclusions and to provide information about the costs, feasibility for scale-up and sustainability.

8th November 2017 • comment

This paper draws on secondary data from 40 low and middle income countries that conducted emergency obstetric and newborn care assessments over the last 10 years. We reviewed 6.5 million deliveries, surveyed in 15,411 facilities. Most of the data were extracted from reports and aggregated with excel. Findings suggest that to a large extent, facility-based findings mirror what population-based systematic reviews have also documented. As coverage of a skilled attendant at birth increases, proportionally more deaths will occur in facilities, making improvements in record-keeping and health management information systems, especially for stillbirths and early neonatal deaths, all the more critical.

25th September 2017 • comment

This paper provides an overview of child mortality and morbidity in the EMR based on the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. The findings from this paper call for accelerated action to decrease child morbidity and mortality in the EMR. Governments and organizations should coordinate efforts to address this burden. Political commitment is needed to ensure that child health receives the resources needed to end preventable deaths.

7th August 2017 • comment

Community health workers (CHWs) play key roles in delivering health programmes in many countries worldwide. CHW programmes can improve coverage of maternal and child health services for the most disadvantaged and remote communities, leading to substantial benefits for mothers and children. This is a cluster randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of a continuous quality improvement (CQI) intervention amongst CHWs providing home-based education and support to pregnant women and mothers. Findings suggest that improved training and CQI-based mentoring of CHWs can improve quantity and quality of CHW-mother interactions at household level, leading to improvements in mothers’ knowledge and infant feeding practices.

3rd July 2017 • comment

Access to quality obstetric care is considered essential to reducing maternal and new-born mortality. The authors evaluated the effect of the introduction of a multifaceted voluntary health insurance programme on hospital deliveries in rural Nigeria. Voluntary health insurance combined with quality healthcare services is highly effective in increasing hospital deliveries in rural Nigeria, by improving access to healthcare for insured and uninsured women in the programme area.

19th April 2017 • comment

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.

3rd April 2017 • comment

New NIHR Themed Review: Better Beginnings

by National Institute for Health Research

This themed review brings together NIHR research on different aspects of health before, during and after pregnancy. It features:

  • 46 published studies
  • 28 ongoing studies or interim results
  • Questions for clinicians, commissioners, public health professionals and othe

20th March 2017 • comment

This short film shows the impact of the CHAPAS trial on patient health and future possibilities of a small boy from Malawi.

14th March 2017 • comment

WHO made it a high priority to provide the present fetal growth charts for estimated fetal weight (EFW) and common ultrasound biometric measurements intended for worldwide use. This study provides WHO fetal growth charts for EFW and common ultrasound biometric measurements, and shows variation between different parts of the world.

10th February 2017 • comment

Parenteral antibiotic therapy for young infants (aged 0–59 days) with suspected sepsis is sometimes not available or feasible in countries with high neonatal mortality. Outpatient treatment could save lives in such settings. The authors in this study aimed to assess the equivalence of two simplifi ed antibiotic regimens, comprising fewer injections and oral rather than parenteral administration, compared with a reference treatment for young infants with clinical severe infection. Two simplifi ed antibiotic regimens requiring fewer injections are equivalent to a reference treatment for young infants with signs of clinical severe infection but without signs of critical illness. The use of these simplifi ed regimens has the potential to increase access to treatment for sick young infants who cannot be referred to hospital.

27th January 2017 • comment

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).

21st April 2016 • comment

A seminar presented by Dr Jalemba Aluvaala in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford

22nd December 2015 • comment

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.

14th December 2015 • comment

The first international stnadards for monitroing the growth of preterm babies have now been published in the Lancet Global Health (October 2015). 

14th October 2015 • comment

The articles in this collection examine the evidence and the thinking that form the basis of the new global strategy.

17th September 2015 • comment

Economic interventions are increasingly recognised as a mechanism to address perinatal health outcomes among disadvantaged groups. In the US, the earned income tax credit (EITC) is the largest poverty alleviation programme. Little is known about its effects on perinatal health among recipients and their children. The authors exploit quasi-random variation in the size of EITC payments to examine the effects of income on perinatal health. Findings suggest that EITC payment size is associated with better levels of several indicators of perinatal health. Instrumental variables analysis, however, does not reveal a causal association between household income and these health measures.

4th August 2015 • comment

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.

4th June 2015 • comment

In this seminar from January 2014, Dr Jane Crawley talks about clinical standardisation in PERCH (Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health), a large case-control study of the causes of and risk factors for severe pneumonia.

3rd June 2015 • comment

Dr Nat Segaren - Medical Director of the Caris Foundation, presents on 'The Haiti National Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV Program'

27th May 2015 • comment

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.

8th May 2015 • comment

The nine-article special issue, titled Newborn Health in Uganda, details results of a community randomized trial, the Uganda Newborn Study (UNEST), which evaluated an integrated care package linking homes, clinics and hospitals and involving visits during pregnancy and the postnatal period at home by a designated member of the village health team. The UNEST results demonstrate that these home visits in pregnancy and soon after delivery were possible to achieve, and that life-saving behaviors could be improved by this interaction. UNEST was influenced by the previously published neonatal survival series in the Lancet which identified cost-effective interventions that could prevent the majority of deaths in the newborn period.      

6th April 2015 • comment

The study aims to identify common factors associated with post-neonatal, infant, child and under-5 mortality in Nigeria. This study found that no formal education, poor households and living in rural areas increased the risk of postneonatal, infant, child and under-5 mortality among Nigerian children. Community-based interventions for reducing under-5 deaths are needed and should target children born to mothers of low socioeconomic status.      

30th March 2015 • comment

Demonstrating the Efficacy of the FoneAstra Pasteurization Monitor for Human Milk Pasteurization in Resource-Limited Settings

by Mageshree Naicker, Anna Coutsoudis, Kiersten Israel, Rohit Chaudhri, Noah Perin, Koleka Mlisana
3rd March 2015 • comment

The increase in childhood obesity is a serious public health concern. Several studies have indicated that breastfed children have a lower risk of childhood obesity than those who were not breastfed, while other studies have provided conflicting evidence. The objective of this meta-analysis was to investigate the association between breastfeeding and the risk of childhood obesity. Results of our meta-analysis suggest that breastfeeding is a significant protective factor against obesity in children.    

22nd December 2014 • comment

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are an important cause of death in children, and often contribute to the terminal decline in children with chronic conditions. RTIs are often underrecorded as the underlying cause of death; therefore the overall contribution of RTIs to child deaths and the potential preventability of RTI-related deaths have not been adequately quantified. The authors in this study conclude that RTI-related deaths have not declined in the last decade among children in England, except in infants. Targeted strategies to prevent the winter excess of RTIs and to treat RTIs in children, particularly children with chronic conditions, may reduce RTI-related deaths.    

21st November 2014 • comment

Many preterm infants are not capable of exclusive breastfeeding from birth. To guide mothers in breastfeeding, it is important to know when preterm infants can initiate breastfeeding and progress. The aim of this study was to analyse postmenstrual age at breastfeeding milestones in different preterm gestational age groups, to describe rates of breastfeeding duration at pre-defined times, as well as analyse factors associated with PMA at the establishment of exclusive breastfeeding. The study concludes that breastfeeding competence is not developed at a fixed postmenstrual age, but is influenced by multiple factors in infants, mothers and clinical practice. Admitting mothers together with their infants to the NICU and minimising the use of pacifiers may contribute to earlier establishment of exclusive breastfeeding.

30th September 2014 • comment

This series of five papers assesses and summarizes information from relevant systematic reviews on the impact of various approaches to improve the quality of care for women and newborns.

17th September 2014 • comment

Despite the global burden of morbidity and mortality associated with preterm birth, little evidence is available for use of antenatal corticosteroids and tocolytic drugs in preterm births in low-income and middle-income countries. The authors in thsi study analysed data from the WHO Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health (WHOMCS) to assess coverage for these interventions in preterm deliveries. Use of interventions was generally poor, despite evidence for their benefit for newborn babies. A substantial proportion of antenatal corticosteroid use occurred at gestational ages at which benefit is controversial, and use of less effective or potentially harmful tocolytic drugs was common. Implementation research and contextualised health policies are needed to improve drug availability and increase compliance with best obstetric practice.

13th September 2014 • comment

Maternal overweight and obesity increase risks of pregnancy and delivery complications and neonatal mortality, but the mechanisms are unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate associations between maternal body mass index (BMI) in early pregnancy and severe asphyxia-related outcomes in infants delivered at term (≥37 weeks).

22nd May 2014 • comment
8th May 2014 • comment

The latest report by 'Save the Children' highlights that the world has made remarkable progress in the fight to end child mortality in recent years. Since 1990, we have almost halved the number of children who die every year before the age of five – from 12.6 million to 6.6 million. And yet, in spite of this progress, child mortality remains one of the great shames of our modern world. Every day, 18,000 children under five die, and most from preventable causes. See the attach report to discover how 2 million newborn babies who could be saved each year if we end preventable newborn mortality.

27th February 2014 • comment

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.

19th February 2014 • comment

Moleen Zunza is a member of the Global Research Nurses' network and is part of the team that has published this systematic review.

13th January 2014 • comment

The universal coverage with the full package of these proven interventions at observed levels of program effectiveness could prevent about one quarter of child deaths under 36 months of age and reduce the prevalence of stunting at 36 months by about one third. I attach my recent review on the possible strategies to combat malnutrition include promotion of breastfeeding, dietary supplementation of micronutrients, prevention of protein-energy malnutrition, and hygiene of available weaning foods and how best topackage these intevrentions for universal scale-up.

8th February 2013 • comment

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.

6th February 2013 • comment