For the majority of the world's women, pregnancy and childbirth are fraught with risks. Each year, 350,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes, and millions more suffer injuries or develop life-long disabilities. Ninety-nine percent of these women live in the developing world. In 1987, experts, development professionals and policy makers gathered in Nairobi to inaugurate the Safe Motherhood Initiative. The impact and the progress of the Safe Motherhood Initiative are described in the Safe Motherhood: A Review. Raising Awareness and Building Commitment
Globally and regionally, FCI works to focus attention on maternal mortality, forge consensus around proven strategies, and accelerate action to address the problem. FCI was one of the first - and is still one of the few - international NGOs to place maternal health at the center of its mission. As the secretariat of the Safe Motherhood Inter-Agency Group (1987-2004), FCI worked with a range of international agencies to raise global awareness about safe motherhood, define goals and programmatic priorities for the initiative, stimulate research, mobilize resources, and share information on how to make pregnancy and childbirth safer. Then, as co-chair of the Board for the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), and now as the lead partner responsible for PMNCH's advocacy activities, FCI continues to advocate for increased commitment to and resources for safe motherhood and newborn health.
In Latin America, FCI is an active member and promoter of several successful national coalitions working to improve safe motherhood, as well as the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Task Force on Maternal Mortality Reduction, for which FCI acts as Secretariat.
Improving Access to Maternal Health Services
Around the globe, FCI is helping to ensure that all women have access to good-quality maternal health care. A special focus of our work is improving women's access to skilled care throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. In addition, FCI is focused on improving women's access to comprehensive family planning information, counseling, and services; safe abortion services, where legal; and post-abortion care. FCI also works to ensure that young women and adolescents have access to sexuality education and youth-friendly reproductive health services so that they can prevent early childbearing and its accompanying risks.
Identifying New Technological Solutions for Maternal Health Problems
FCI is working to advance new technologies that have the potential to dramatically improve maternal health outcomes in poor, rural settings in the developing world. FCI is collaborating with Gynuity Health Projects, on an initiative to evaluate and promote misoprostol as an alternative therapy for preventing and treating postpartum hemorrhage, which kills more than 350 women around the world each day. This effort will yield much-needed data on the efficacy of a specific regimen of misoprostol so that regulatory approval for the drug can be obtained in countries around the world. The Misoprostol for Postpartum Hemorrhage Information Kit, which includes a detailed project description, is available in our Publications section.
Article analyzes out-of-pocket costs for maternity care in Africa
FCI launches Spanish edition of the Lancet on maternal survival and sexual and reproductive health These articles, originally published in the respected medical journal The Lancet, address the most pressing issues related to maternal health in Latin America and the Caribbean. In publishing this translation, FCI’s goal is to help ensure that key information on and recommendations for improving maternal survival, and on sexual and reproductive health more broadly, reach health professionals, authorities, and policy-makers in the region.
Ecuador maternal health facts presented in new publication
FCI, the Ministry of Health of Ecuador, the Executive branch of the Law for Free Maternity and Newborn Care, UNFPA/Ecuador and the Project for Health Care Improvement (HCI) have developed Por una maternidad y nacimientos seguros to disseminate the most recent available data on Maternal and Newborn Health in Ecuador. Available in Spanish. Click here to download.