|Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity (UNFPA, 1998, 22 p.)|
UNFPA co-sponsored the first Safe Motherhood Conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya, which launched the Safe Motherhood Initiative in 1987. The Conference's goal was the improvement of maternal health with a reduction in maternal mortality. UNFPA has remained a member of this unique alliance of co-sponsoring agencies, comprising the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), The Population Council and Family Care International, that have worked together to raise awareness, set priorities, stimulate research, mobilize resources, provide technical assistance and share information.
During the Initiatives first decade, UNFPA actively promoted interventions to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity through support for family planning services, training of traditional birth attendants (TBAs), training of midwives, provision of equipment and supplies for essential obstetric care, strengthening of referral systems, operations research, community education and advocacy programmes.
UNFPA recognizes that pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among women of reproductive age and that making motherhood safer is essential for womens health and survival. Safe motherhood interventions are, therefore, key components of efforts to improve womens reproductive health. Furthermore, UNFPA believes that death from pregnancy or childbirth is a violation of reproductive rights and a social injustice that should be addressed through political, legal and health systems in all countries.
In October 1997, as a member of the Inter-Agency Group for Safe Motherhood, UNFPA cosponsored the Technical Consultation on Safe Motherhood, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Consultation reviewed the lessons learned from research projects, service delivery models and innovative institutional arrangements developed worldwide since 1987. The lessons learned have direct implications for UNFPA in its core programming areas: reproductive health; population and development strategies; and advocacy.