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Maternal Health: pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period

Saving lives through women-centred care

Globally, every day, approximately 800 women die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Although this number has significantly decreased over the past decade, poor maternal health remains a significant problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

A lot more investment is needed to reach target 3.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals: by 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100.000 live births. Maternal mortality is the result of multiple underlying and interrelated factors such as poverty and gender inequality, underperforming or distant health services, lack of knowledge of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and insufficient access to contraceptives. With the right interventions, most cases of maternal mortality can be prevented.

What does Simavi’s work on Maternal Health entail? 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines maternal health as the health of women before and during pregnancy, at childbirth and during the postpartum period.

Simavi believes that every woman or girl should be able to decide freely over the number, timing, and spacing of their children, and be able to get appropriate and women-centred care.

Therefore, Simavi extends our work on maternal health to include access to contraceptives, and safe, hygienic and women-centric care during pregnancy, childbirth and post-delivery (up to 28 days). Furthermore, we believe every woman or girl should have access to the right information about, and options for safe and legal abortions, and the aftercare they require.

Simavi’s approach to Maternal Health

Simavi considers improvements in maternal health outcomes to be crucial for reaching our target, namely; a world in which all women are socially and economically empowered to pursue their right to health. Where possible, we combine SRHR and WASH interventions in our programmes that focus on maternal health.

We work on the premises that a reduction in maternal mortality can only be achieved by ensuring full access to sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and services. In addition, we see that access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are a prerequisite for safe deliveries. When deliveries take place in health facilities with limited WASH facilities, there is an increased risk of infection during childbirth and the postnatal period.

In our maternal health programmes, we integrate several elements of our Theory of Change. To start with, we increase access to education and information about contraceptives, pregnancy, childbirth and safe abortions. Moreover, we engage the whole community and challenge harmful (gender) norms that surround maternal health. Next to this, we give women the opportunity to voice their needs and priorities on maternal health services and ensure that health providers and policy makers listen and respond. With our implementing partners, we build the capacity of public and private health providers on women-centred care, and we lobby governments to improve policy and practice on maternal health. This way we stimulate women-centred care.

Read more about our work on maternal health: 

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