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.

Reducing post-partum haemorrhage in Ghuman Community Health Centre, Punjab, India

The Ghuman Community Health Centre in Gurdaspur District caters to a population of about 40,000. On average, the centre attends 15 deliveries each month. In the absence of an attending physician, deliveries are conducted by the staff...

Spanish language webinar: Prospects and challenges for neonatal health in Latin America


On November 5th, the USAID ASSIST Project together with the Pan-American Health Organization, and the LAC Newborn Alliance hosted its third Spanish-language webinar in a webinar series titled “Prospects and challenges for newborn health in Latin America.”

Improving Health Care: The Results and Legacy of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project

This final report of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) summarizes the key accomplishments and learning of this seven-year global technical assistance project of the USAID Office of Health Systems. Implemented from 2007-2014,...

Improving postpartum care for mothers and newborns in Niger and Mali: a case study of an integrated maternal and newborn improvement programme

This case study describes a large-scale program to improve integrated maternal and newborn post-partum care in two West African countries, Niger and Mali. As a result of a quality improvement effort that leveraged common objectives, local...

Improving Quality of Basic Newborn Resuscitation in Low-resource Settings: A Framework for Managers and Skilled Birth Attendants

This framework was developed in consultation with the Newborn Resuscitation Working Group of the Newborn Technical Reference Team of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities (UNCoLSC). It highlights common health system and...

Improving the quality of maternal and child health services in Latin America: past, present, and future

Jorge Hermida

Senior QI Advisor, MNCH, and Latin America Regional Director, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

In September, I had the pleasure of attending two international maternal and newborn health meetings: the “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health: In Pursuit of Quality” technical meeting, convening global leaders on promising approaches to integration of care in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Latin America and the Caribbean Newborn Health Alliance Annual Meeting in Bogotá, Colombia. At both conferences, I presented about our work through the USAID ASISST Project to reduce maternal and newborn mortality through increasing access to and quality of care -focusing on high-impact, evidence based maternal and newborn care globally.

While many international organizations have been focused on recommending to countries and health systems the “best” interventions to put in place, the actual process of making it happen in those health systems has not always been a priority. What is needed, in my opinion, is implementation effectiveness- to focus more on the process of actually implementing those best practices, including identifying the main barriers and facilitating factors and the best ways to achieve large scale implementation with an effective level of quality.

Improving labour and postpartum care at Budhlada Sub-divisional Hospital in Mansa District, Punjab, India

Mansa is a district in Punjab State, where around 7,500 women deliver every year; of these, around 18 percent experience delivery complications. The USAID ASSIST Project started working with Mansa’s Budhlada Sub-Divisional Hospital to set...

Integration of maternal and newborn health care: A technical meeting and blog series

The following blog was originally featured on the Healthy Newborn Network and was written by Katie Millar. The post follows a conference in Boston that focused on integrating MNCH approaches across the continuum of care. ASSIST's Jorge Hermida and Kathleen Hill attended and presented at the conference.

On September 9th and 10th, the Maternal Health Task Force and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program convened experts in Boston to discuss maternal and newborn health integration. The meeting, “Integration of Maternal and Newborn Health Care: In Pursuit of Quality,” hosted about 50 global leaders—researchers, program implementers and funders—in maternal and newborn health to accomplish the following three objectives:

  1. Review the knowledge base on integration of maternal and newborn health care and the promising approaches, models and tools that exist for moving this agenda forward
  2. Identify the barriers to and opportunities for integrating maternal and newborn care across the continuum
  3. Develop a list of actions the global maternal and newborn health communities can take to ensure greater programmatic coherence and effectiveness

Virtual Collaboratives to Improve Maternal and Child Health

Modern quality improvement approaches offer methods to overcome common barriers related to quality of care, including in the context of weak health systems that face severe limitations in terms of materials and and human resources...