Making a Difference in Maternal and Newborn Health Outcomes
ROME, October 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
The Millennium Development Goal 5 “Improve maternal health” set by the United Nations
has made some progress, albeit slow. In 2010, the UN Secretary-General launched the
‘Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health’ to mobilise commitments by governments
and civil society to accelerate progress towards it.
“In advance to Mr Ban Ki-moon’s avowal, FIGO, the International Federation of
Gynecology and Obstetrics, set against this backdrop the Saving Mothers and Newborns
Initiative. Funded by FIGO and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency,
it resulted in challenges and opportunities for 10 low-resource countries in their quest
to make a tangible difference in the reduction of maternal and newborn morbidity and
mortality,” said Dr Andre Lalonde, Chair of FIGO Committee for Safe Motherhood and Newborn
Health, presenting at the FIGO2012 Congress in Rome, Italy.
FIGO worked with the associations of obstetricians, gynecologists and midwives of
Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Moldova, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Uganda, Ukraine and Uruguay, with
contributions from professional associations in high-resource countries. Achieved results
- one of the most notable, the provision of clinical training to over 2,000 health
professionals, including birth attendants, midwives, and doctors – led to improvements to
maternal and newborn health outcomes.
Furthermore, the Haiti project responded to the humanitarian disaster following the
2010 earthquake, through making Port-au-Prince maternity centre one of the few able to
offer essential obstetrical care; and the Uruguay project – how to manage unsafe abortion
in a country with restrictive laws – set a model for many countries.
Provision of safe abortion services within the legal framework to avoid maternal
mortality and problems associated with haemorrhage, pelvic infection, and subfertility
moves another FIGO project: the ‘Prevention of Unsafe Abortion Initiative’.
The project involves 44 countries worldwide and is based on national action plans
adopted as a commitment by the government and the civil society and including all or some
of the four levels: to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions; to make unavoidable
abortion safer; timely and correct treatment of abortion complications; to reduce its
“Most participating countries have achieved great progress, but mostly have understood
and adopted the concept that abortion is a problem that cannot be ignored for its public
health significance and its meaning to women’s lives, and consequently action needs to be
taken to reduce its number and consequences,” Professor Anibal Faundes, Chair of FIGO
Working Group for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion, said.