Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Maternal health

Counting and reviewing every birth and death is key to preventing future tragedies

A mother holds her baby.
WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

16 August 2016 -- Every day, women die during childbirth and babies are born stillborn. With quality health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth, many of these deaths could be prevented, but countries often lack the knowledge and capacity needed to take actions to stop other women and babies dying in the same way. To address this issue WHO is today launching two new tools to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths as well as a report on the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a key strategy for reducing preventable maternal mortality.

Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere

Cartoon showing a restaurant waiter offerign a drink to a breastfeeding woman.
WHO

The 1-5 August is World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly. One of the reasons for doing this is that, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake, "Breastfeeding is one of the most effective, and cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children everywhere, yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers."

Investing in trained midwives across Liberia

A midwife guides a mother who is breastfeeding her baby, Liberia.
WHO/Liberia

5 May 2016 -- In Liberia, about 44% of women give birth at home without a skilled birth attendant. Nearly 1 in 138 live births result in a mother dying from preventable causes such as haemorrhage, sepsis or other reasons related to limited access to either basic midwifery or emergency obstetric care, such as caesarean sections. To improve access to quality midwifery care, the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, WHO and other partners are working to strengthen the country’s 6 midwifery schools, 3 of which are located in rural areas.

Increasing breastfeeding could save 800 000 children and US$ 300 billion every year

A mother breastfeeding her baby, Hong Kong.
EPA/Alex Hofford

29 January 2016 -- A major new Series on breastfeeding, published in “The Lancet”, finds that despite strong health and economic benefits from breastfeeding, few children are exclusively breastfed until 6 months, as recommended by WHO. Globally, an estimated 1 in 3 infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed – a rate that has not improved in 2 decades.

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