This is the second in a series of four stories about how strong health systems improve the health of women and children.
Nine countries, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other partners, launched the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health last week.
The new Network aims to improve the quality of care that mothers and babies receive in health facilities while supporting countries in achieving their targets agreed under the Sustainable Development Goals to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths.
Despite remarkable progress in improving access to health services proven to reduce maternal and newborn deaths, every year worldwide, 303,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth, 2.7 million babies die during the first 28 days of life, and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. Most of these deaths could be prevented with quality care during pregnancy and childbirth.
However, the provision of care is uneven within and between countries, and often fails to respect the rights and dignity of those who seek it.