New findings from the WHO Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health
The Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health (WHOMCS) is the largest study to date assessing the management of severe maternal complications and the prevalence of maternal near miss. New analyses of the study data set covering a wide range of issues, including the major causes of maternal mortality and severe morbidity and social determinants of health, are presented in this special supplement to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and is freely available from the link below.
A large WHO multicountry survey examined data from more than 300 000 women attending 357 health care facilities in 29 countries. This study found a poor correlation between coverage of ‘essential interventions’ (e.g. uterotonics for preventing postpartum haemorrhage; magnesium sulfate for eclampsia) and maternal mortality in health facilities. This study suggests that to achieve a substantial reduction in maternal mortality, a comprehensive approach to emergency care, and overall improvements in the quality of maternal health care will be needed.
The World Health Organization’s recommendations on optimizing the roles of health workers aim to help address critical health workforce shortages that slow down progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals. A more rational distribution of tasks and responsibilities among cadres of health workers can significantly improve both access and cost-effectiveness – for example by training and enabling ‘mid-level’ and ‘lay’ health workers to perform specific interventions otherwise provided only by cadres with longer (and sometimes more specialized) training.