Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where is maternal and child health now?

After we were honored with Dr. Rosenfield's contributions in class yesterday, this article in the Lancet appropriately revisits his efforts to direct researchers to the M in MCH:

ScienceDirect - The Lancet : Where is maternal and child health now?: "21 years ago, Rosenfield and Maine1, 2 and 3 posed the question "where is the M in MCH?", conceiving the safe motherhood movement. What has happened to maternal and child health (MCH) since? [...] Inadequate focus and funding is certainly one of many reasons for this slow progress. Additionally, progress has been impeded at times by competition, conflicts, and changes of direction in global policy.3 We consider two such competitions—the mother versus the child, and community versus clinical care—and how these become obsolete with a shift to a continuum of care approach.

How did mother versus child become a competition? Despite the name, in the 1980s most MCH programmes focused on the child, with maternal care mainly limited to family planning. The justifiable need for more attention for women contributed to the downplaying of links between maternal and child health to such an extent that the ten action points for safe motherhood in 19973 did not mention the purpose of motherhood—a live, healthy newborn baby. Meanwhile child health programmes focused primarily on infectious diseases, largely ignoring the causes of 4 million neonatal deaths every year.5 The separation of maternal health and child health programmes contributed to inaction for newborn health...'"

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