Integrating Maternal, Neonatal, Child Care Is ‘Most Promising’ Strategy

Writing in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, France Donnay, senior program officer for maternal, neonatal and child health on the family health team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gary Darmstadt, who heads the foundation’s Family Health Division; and Ann Starrs, co-founder and president of Family Care International, discuss a study (.pdf) published in a special issue of the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine that “looked at more than 150 [maternal and newborn health] interventions, assessing them for impact on both maternal and neonatal outcomes.” The study “grouped the interventions into ‘packages of care’ that can be effectively delivered at each of the key levels of care: community, health center, and hospital,” they write, continuing, “Most importantly, the findings send a clear message: that greater integration of maternal and newborn care — and, more broadly, of services across the reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) continuum of care — is one of our most promising strategies for strengthening efforts to save women’s and children’s lives” (6/3).

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