Life should not equal death, but in developing countries thousands of mothers die as a result of childbirth. While many countries have made great progress towards reducing the rate of maternal mortality, over 500,000 women die of pregnancy related deaths each year, ninety percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and less than one percent in more developed regions (WHO, 2005). Most of these deaths can be prevented.
Access to quality health services, emergency obstetric care, family planning, financial barriers, and cultural attitudes are just some of the challenges associated with maternal health. GHI is committed to improving maternal health outcomes by increasing knowledge, understanding, and communication among a range of stakeholders to help facilitate creative interventions that may be integrated into policies and programs worldwide.
Maternal Health Facts (pdf):
- An estimated 350,000 women die each year as a result of childbirth and pregnancy complications
- For every one mother who dies from obstetric care 30 more suffer from infection, complications, and other conditions that jeopardize their health
- Maternal mortality can be reduced with skilled care at birth and increased access to quality medical facilities
Health Financing Schemes
Financing structures are critical to the achievement of health outcomes and developing countries often lack sufficient resources to deliver adequate services. Financial barriers such as out-of-pocket spending and user fees prevent household members from seeking curative and preventative health care making Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6 difficult to attain.
Mobilization of resources and health insurance schemes such as conditional cash transfers, private-public partnerships, and community-based financing offer unique solutions to scale up coverage, however, the Global Health Initiative recognizes there is no “magic-bullet” and creates a forum for dialogue among policymakers, practitioners, leading scholars, and private sector members to examine strategies for health investment planning.
Past Initiative: With funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GHI analyzed and documented the budgeting and allocations process employed in select countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, is identifying strengths and weaknesses within the Ministries of Health and Ministries of Finance during this process, and making recommendations for improving performance.
Health in Post-Conflict & Post-Disaster Settings
Armed conflict, earthquakes, genocide, hurricanes and other major emergencies weaken health systems and reverse development. In post-conflict and post-disaster settings, health needs increase as access to services decrease.
GHI seeks to mitigate negative health consequences in post-conflict and post-disaster settings by providing an opportunity for knowledge sharing so healthcare workers, program managers, researchers and policymakers may discuss interventions and best practices for sustainable development.