Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Maternal health

New collaboration to advance maternal immunization

A mother smiles while carrying her young child

11 September 2017 -- A newly launched Advancing Maternal Immunization (AMI) collaboration is bringing together stakeholders from around the world to improve infant health and survival through maternal immunization, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The collaboration is meeting an urgent need for pregnant mothers to be able to protect their babies from infectious diseases by getting vaccinated themselves.

WHO toolkit for the care and support of people affected by complications associated with Zika virus


June 2017 – The WHO Toolkit for the care and support of people affected by complications associated with Zika virus has been developed to serve as a model guide, with the goal of enhancing country preparedness for Zika virus outbreaks. The toolkit is intended to provide a systems approach involving public health planners and managers so that the necessary infrastructure and resources can be identified and incorporated as needed, as well as technical and practical guidance for health care professionals and community workers.

Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth: A guide for midwives and doctors

Health physician examining a pregnant woman in Cuba

June 2017 -- Since the first edition was published in 2000, Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth has been translated into several languages and today is used widely in training for and the provision of emergency obstetric care. The new edition brings the guidance in the manual into line with WHO’s current recommendations for emergency obstetric and newborn care.

International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress 2017

A midwife helps a mother breastfeed her newborn.
WHO/K. Reidy

19 June 2017 -- WHO has a significant presence at the 31st ICM Congress where over 4000 midwives, policy makers, donors, civil society and government representatives from 116 midwifery associations, representing 102 countries across every continent are gathering in Toronto. The theme for this year is “Midwives - Making a difference in the world” with daily themes of: leadership, partnerships, professionalism and supporting women’s and girls’ rights.

International Day of the Midwife 2017

A midwife counsels a woman in a clinic.

Every year 5 May is celebrated globally as the International Day of the Midwife. The theme for this year celebration is "Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!" Midwives everywhere understand that by working in partnership with women and their families they can support them to make better decisions about what they need to have a safe and fulfilling birth. The event is organised each year by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). There is also a Virtual International Day of the Midwife: an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery.

World Immunization Week 24-30 April

The Indigenous Health Teams members check vaccine packaging, Brazil.
WHO/A. Zambrana

The journey of vaccines in Brazil. Thanks to a highly effective National Immunization Programme, most Brazilian parents can feel confident that their children will get the lifesaving vaccines they need – when they need them. Routine vaccination coverage in the country averages above 95% for most vaccines on the child immunization schedule every year – exceeding WHO’s recommendation of at least 90% coverage.

Let's talk about depression - Women with young babies

7 April, World Health Day – Depression after childbirth is common. It causes mental anguish and can prevent people from being able to carry out family responsibilities fully. Yet depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of depression will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help. This short video, focusing on depression among women with young babies, highlights some of the symptoms of depression following childbirth and the importance of talking as the first step towards getting help.

A Network to halve maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana.

February 2017 -- Many women, their babies and children still die, or suffer from life-long disabilities, even after reaching a health facility, due to poor care practices. Improving the quality of care provided is of utmost urgency. With a target of halving maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years, national governments from 9 first wave countries and partners are joining forces to establish a Network to improve the quality of care provided to mothers, newborns and children. The Network will support countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve the vision set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

New guidelines on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience

7 November 2016 – WHO has issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience. By focusing on a positive pregnancy experience, these new guidelines seek to ensure not only a health pregnancy for mother and baby, but also an effective transition to positive labour and childbirth and ultimately to a positive experience of motherhood.