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Maternal Health

Over the last two decades, the global community has witnessed remarkable reductions in the number of maternal deaths worldwide. Yet, too many women — nearly 800 women per day — still die in pregnancy and childbirth from treatable complications.

MCSP’s strategy for maternal health emphasizes an integrated, systems-oriented approach to reducing direct and indirect causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. MCSP continues the gains made globally in addressing the major direct causes of maternal mortality, while also focusing on the increasing proportion of maternal, perinatal and newborn morbidity and mortality due to indirect causes. New data shows that the leading drivers of maternal mortality have shifted to indirect causes1, thus MCSP is enhancing linkages with newborn health, nutrition and family planning, as well as infectious diseases—such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

Building on the successes of USAID’s predecessor Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program, MCSP is increasing coverage of key evidence-based, high-quality interventions to reduce maternal mortality from postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, and maternal sepsis, as well as strengthening maternal interventions for improved newborn outcomes, including management of preterm birth. Quality improvement approaches in the intrapartum period focus on respectful, quality care for normal births as well as for obstetric complications, and are engaging the community for increased social accountability.

We coordinate our efforts with monitoring and evaluation to support global, regional, national and local learning and decision-making needs, and to advance reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health priorities. Moreover, MCSP’s maternal health vision links closely with the Program’s strategies to engage communities and increase demand for health services, working toward equity in access to quality and respectful care at both the community and facility levels.

To download MCSP’s maternal health fact sheet, click here.

Key Facts

  • Globally, PPH is the leading cause of maternal mortality at 27%.
  • In developing countries, the risk of dying from PPH is apprximately 275 times higher than in a developed country.
  • Severe pre-eclampsia / eclampsia is the second leading direct cause of maternal mortality at 14%.
  • Indirect causes, such as pre-existing medical conditions (including diabetes, malaria, HIV, TB, and obesity), have overtaken PPH as the number one cause of maternal death.