Saving Lives of Women and Newborns by Improving Access to Essential Maternal Health Commodities

By Suzanne Diarra and Maheen Malik

Maheen Malik

Maheen Malik. (Photo credit: Rachel Hassinger/MSH)

Suzanne Diarra

Suzanne Diarra. (Photo credit: R. Hassinger/MSH)

For many women and newborns in developing countries, pregnancy and childbirth can be life-threatening. Ensuring access to essential high quality medicines and supplies across the continuum of care is often a hidden part of the solution.

Safe and effective maternal health medicines and supplies exist but are not often available when and where women, newborn and children need them the most.

These topics and more were discussed at a Maternal Health Commodities pre-conference event on Monday, May 27, sponsored by Family Care International, PATH, and Population Action International.

As maternal, newborn and child health medicines and supplies needs are being elevated on global agendas through global initiatives such as the UN Commission for life saving commodities for women and children, it takes multifaceted skills and efforts at country level to translate these global initiatives into appropriate local interventions that improve access to high quality medicines and supplies for women across the continuum of care.

MSH promotes a systems-strengthening approach to identify challenges with delivering essential pharmaceuticals and services to women, newborns and children by working with managers at all levels of health systems, policy makers, providers, and communities to build capacity and strengthen health systems to address these challenges and improve access of women and children to life saving medicines and supplies.

Suzanne Diarra and Maheen Malik are senior technical advisors for Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) at MSH.

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