October 6, 2015
Written by Doris Chou and colleagues
Despite remarkable achievements to improve maternal and child survival, 800 women and 7700 newborns still die each day from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the postnatal period; an additional 7300 women experience a stillbirth.1 2 3 Some countries have been able to improve health outcomes for women and children, even with relatively low health expenditures.4 The key to their success can be found in context specific, evidence informed strategies to improve and integrate care, supported by strong guiding principles and good governance.5
This paper builds upon two strategic plans—Every Newborn: An Action Plan to End Preventable Deaths (ENAP) and the Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM)6 7—that aim to catalyse global action to eliminate wide disparities in the risk of death and end preventable maternal and newborn mortality and stillbirths within a generation (box 1). We discuss the strategic priorities and essential interventions needed to prevent maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths and promote maternal and newborn health and wellbeing.