Investing in maternal, newborn, and child health

Author(s): Susan Foster and Malcolm Bryant, with Gampo Dorji, Ehimen Aneni, Olivia Blain, and Michael Roxas


Publication details

Editor/Publisher: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health
Number of pages: 70
Date of publication: February 2013
Languages: English

Since 1990 great progress has been made in reducing the under-five mortality rate, which has fallen by 41 percent, from 87 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 51 in 2011 (UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation 2012). But the burden remains high, with an estimated 6.7 million deaths of children under 5. Maternal mortality has declined more slowly, with 287,000 maternal deaths still occurring each year. Worldwide, an estimated 55% of children with birth asphyxia and 75% of women with post-partum hemorrhage did not get appropriate treatment and died (Singh et al. 2010) – this is unacceptable. Most deaths of both mothers and newborns occur during or soon after birth – so very high priority should be given to the issues of pregnancy, childbirth, the neonatal period, and young childhood. After the neonatal period, child deaths are concentrated in the ages 1-2.

There is now good evidence that investing in health brings many economic, social and political benefits (World Bank 1993). Calculating the returns on investment in health generally, and also for specific diseases has led to better understanding of those diseases and their economic impact on society (Sachs 2001). Investing in improving maternal, neonatal and child health is likely to have great returns given the life-cycle and how mother’s lives are intricately involved in the lives of their children through adolescence and into child-bearing.

In this paper we describe the findings of a model which is designed to estimate the impact of increased investment in maternal, newborn, and child health.

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