Stronger Markets, Essential Access to Maternal Health Supplies: Global Advocacy Recommendations

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In the last 15 years, spurred by momentum from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), global efforts have nearly halved maternal mortality worldwide. Yet, too many women continue to die from preventable and treatable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. In 2015, more than 300,000 women globally—one woman every two minutes—died from complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

Globally, 40 percent of maternal deaths result from two causes: uncontrolled bleeding after childbirth, or postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), and a condition which causes high blood pressure and seizures during pregnancy, or pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (PE/E). Both conditions can be addressed with effective, low-cost maternal health products: oxytocin and misoprostol to prevent and treat PPH, and magnesium sulfate, to treat PE/E. In 2012, the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children (UN Commission) identified these three maternal health products as lifesaving and issued a global call to action to improve access.

Despite this momentum, women in many countries worldwide still lack reliable access to essential maternal health products. Further, products that are available are sometimes of poor or unverified quality