Global Maternal Health Conference: Improving Access to, and Quality of, Maternal Health Medicines and Care

Global Maternal Health Conference: Improving Access to, and Quality of, Maternal Health Medicines and Care

Jane Briggs of the USAID-funded SIAPS program at MSH gives examples from Rwanda and Kenya during the Improving Access to Essential Maternal Health Medicines session on the first day of the conference. {Photo credit: C. Lander / MSH.}Photo credit: C. Lander / MSH.

Cross-posted from the SIAPS website.

“Respectful maternal care was said to be more than just a means to an end, and can be framed as several issues: human rights, quality of care, equity and public health,” Jocalyn Clark, senior editor of PLoS Medicine, noted about the final day of the 2013 Global Maternal Health Conference (GMHC).

The conference brought together scientists, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to share knowledge, ideas, innovations, research, programs and policies on maternal health quality and access, among several other topics. Participants also worked on building progress towards reducing and eliminating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

Quality of maternal care was a consistent theme throughout the conference.

Drs. Maheen Malik and Jane Briggs of the USAID-funded, MSH-led, Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program, presented on the first day of the conference during the Improving Access to Essential Maternal Health Medicines session to an audience of about 50 participants.

Maheen Malik of the USAID-funded SIAPS program at MSH, presents on the unmet for essential maternal health medicines. (Photo credit: C. Lander / MSH)

Dr. Malik's presentataion (PDF) on an advocacy tool being developed by SIAPS to assess the unmet medical need of maternal health medicines drew participants’ interest and appreciation of the estimation tools’ formalization. The tool, which can be used at the country level, is intended to improve future procurement of maternal health medicines so that countries are not left with stock-outs or shortages to treat two principal causes of maternal deaths: hypertension and postpartum hemorrhage.

Dr. Briggs presented (PDF) on the importance of correct management of maternal health medicines to assure their quality, highlighting some examples from surveys conducted in Rwanda and Kenya. Her presentation was met with interest and participants commented on the importance of maintaining a strong distribution system but also linking it to strategies of increasing geographical access.

Find out more about the various topics discussed at the conference on the Maternal Health Taskforce blog and view pictures of the conference.

Marie Maroun is a communications specialist at MSH’s Center for Pharmaceutical Management.