Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

Mother with baby

In the last 20 years, great strides have been made in reducing child and maternal deaths.  However, child and maternal deaths still remain unacceptably high. In 2013, 6.3 million children died before their fifth birthday, and even now some 800 women and girls die each day in the process of giving life, largely from preventable causes. Strengthening essential system functions to reliably deliver high quality, life-saving interventions for leading causes of maternal, newborn, and child mortality is a major part of USAID’s Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths (EPCMD) strategy. The USAID ASSIST Project supports the global EPCMD agenda by:

  • Testing and implementing innovative, cutting-edge quality improvement and service delivery approaches in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), such as collaborative improvement, process redesign, and integrating routine and complications care across system levels
  • Developing, testing, and disseminating technical frameworks, approaches, and tools that can increase the efficiency, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of health system strengthening and quality improvement initiatives in support of the USAID EPCMD strategy, including strategies to integrate gender considerations in care delivery
  • Building government and implementing partner capacity to apply improvement methods across health system levels (community, clinic, hospital, district, regional, central) to improve, scale up, and sustain high-impact, low-cost, people-centered MNCH and family planning (FP) services for leading causes of maternal newborn and child morbidity and mortality in USAID priority countries
  • Strengthening frontline health worker and manager skills, motivation, and performance through integrated clinical and quality improvement (QI) capacity building and through engagement of health workers in making improvements in their local health care systems and processes
  • Supporting the development and testing of MNCH quality of care indicators, strengthening routine health information systems to enable regular tracking of quality measures at service delivery level, and promoting accountability at global, national, and sub-national levels

Drawing on extensive experience support the planning, implementation and evaluation of MNCH improvement programs in different countries and regions, USAID ASSIST also contributes to global learning about gaps in care processes and how to best support health system functions to deliver high-impact, cost-effective MNCH services to decrease preventable maternal and child deaths.

Improving Maternal and Newborn Care in Northern Uganda Change Package

A synthesis of the most robust, high-impact and evidence-based changes that resulted in facility and community-level improvements in the processes and systems of providing maternal and newborn care services

World Preeclampsia Day: Using a collaborative learning approach to improve early detection and management of preeclampsia in Jinja District, Uganda

Anjali Chowfla

Improvement Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project

(A quality improvement team in Jinja District, Uganda reviews changes tested to increase early detection of preeclampsia. Photo credit: Connie Namajji, URC)

World Preeclampsia Day


On Monday, May 22, 2017, maternal health organizations will join forces online to raise awareness and mark the first World Preeclampsia Day. Preeclampsia and eclampsia are a serious complication women can develop during pregnancy. Despite being easily treatable, it remains the second leading cause of maternal deaths. Eclampsia means "lighting" in Greek. Be prepared before lightning strikes.

Using a scientific approach to improve early identification of complicated labour cases

In May 2016, the head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital (SSMCH) in Dhaka, Bangladesh initiated an effort to use improvement methods to increase the early identification of labour complications by increasing complete and correct use of partograph among the women who are at active labour.

What we learned while improving care for 180,000 babies annually in India

Nigel Livesley

Regional Director for South Asia, USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Health Systems (ASSIST) project, University Research Co., LLC (URC)

In India, the USAID ASSIST Project worked with over 400 facilities – delivering approximately 180,000 babies per year – to use quality improvement (QI) approaches to provide better care to women and babies before, during, and immediately after delivery. Here are some of the lessons we learned.

Evaluation of a quality improvement intervention for obstetric and neonatal care in selected public health facilities across six states of India

In India, in recent years, there has been a great increase in the number of women delivering in health facilities; however, the quality of obstetric and neonatal care within these facilities is often quite poor, which contributes to continuing high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality.

How one hospital in India improved hand washing among parents of high-risk newborns

Ankur Sooden

Senior Improvement Advisor, India, USAID ASSIST/URC

(Parents practice good hand hygiene in the newborn intensive care unit of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in India. Photo by Ms. Ravleen Kaur, RML Hospital, New Delhi)