October 6, 2015
Written by Ana Langer, Joy Riggs-Perla, Mark Steedman and Mary Nell Wegner
In low- and middle-income countries, mothers and newborns are often the victims of weak health systems and cultural norms that fail to prioritize their health needs, leading to a disproportionate share of disease and mortality. Reproductive health issues are the leading cause of death and disability for girls and women between the ages of 15 and 44 globally. As the health of mothers and their children are inextricably linked–biologically, socially and through health systems–the impact of these maternal deaths go well beyond the women themselves and severely affect their families, as newborns and older children are left without the care of their mothers and are more likely to die themselves. The integration of maternal and newborn healthcare would increase women and babies’ access to quality care, particularly those who are the most vulnerable, while easing the burden on policymakers and healthcare providers, increasing efficiency and reducing costs.