Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

A group of mothers, women and infants.

More women and children survive today than ever before – UN report

19 September 2019 -- More women and their children are surviving today than ever before, according to new child and maternal mortality estimates released today by United Nations groups led by WHO and UNICEF. Still, the new estimates reveal that 6.2 million children under 15 years died in 2018, and over 290 000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. Of the total child deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first 5 years, with almost half of these in the first month of life. Women and newborns are most vulnerable during and immediately after childbirth. An estimated 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns die every year, or 1 every 11 seconds, mostly of preventable causes.

WHO/C. Black
A newborn infant.

Management of the sick young infant aged up to 2 months - updated chart booklet and training manuals

August 2019 -- This update reflects the recent guidelines on Managing possible serious bacterial infection (PSBI) in young infants when referral is not feasible published in 2015. It includes assessment, classification and referral of sick young infants (SYI) with PSBI; and outpatient treatment of SYI with local infection or fast breathing (pneumonia) in infants 7-59 days old. Other updates include: a new section on how to reassess, classify and treat SYI with PSBI when referral is not feasible in outpatient health facilities by IMNCI trained health workers; changes in assessment and management of young infants for HIV infection; and identification of infants less than 7 days of who need Kangaroo Care. The IMCI training course for health workers has been updated to reflect these updates to support the capacity building of health workers in using the updated SYI IMNCI chart booklet.

International Youth Day 2019

The theme of International Youth Day 2019 is Transforming Education. It is intended to highlight the need to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people. The theme of the day prompts three questions:

Why is education important?

Why is there a need to transform education?

How is WHO’s work contributing to transforming education?

A WHO field worker with women and infants after cyclone Idai, mozambique.

Empower parents, enable breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. This year, WHO is working with UNICEF and partners to promote the importance of family-friendly policies to enable breastfeeding and help parents nurture and bond with their children in early life, when it matters most.

WHO/M. Niewenhof
Graphic of the MNCAH Data Platform

New resource consolidates data for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

The MNCAH Data Portal is a new unique resource that brings together many different data on key indicators from several sources into one central place. The Data Portal will be the first comprehensive compilation of data on demographics, mortality, morbidity, risk factors, coverage and policy on maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. It will help identify and fill gaps, as well as fulfilling global and national monitoring needs. Current key features include access to the data for each indicator, visualization of indicators; country profiles and other static visualizations and information on the advisory groups on measurement of maternal and newborn (MoNITOR), child (CHAT), and adolescent health (GAMA) and quality of care of maternal and newborn health metrics.

Health centre in Mbanza Ngungu, DRC. Nurse and mother admiring new born child in postnatal ward in maternity department.

Strengthening quality midwifery education for Universal Health Coverage 2030

The evidence is clear. Strengthening midwifery education to international standards is a key step to improving quality of care and reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. The Framework for Action to Strengthen Midwifery Education is a guide to develop high-quality, sustainable pre- and in-service education to save lives. It has been developed by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and ICM and includes a seven-step action plan for use by all stakeholders in maternal and newborn health.

S. Torfinn
Plenary Hall at World Health Assembly, UN Palais, Geneva.

Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health at the World Health Assembly

This year’s 72nd World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from 20 – 28 May and will be the first following the Organization’s adoption of a new strategic five-year plan towards three targets: 1 billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage (UHC), 1 billion more people better protected from health emergencies and 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being. The launch of the Framework for Action to Strengthen Midwifery Education is among several events focussing on maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health at the Assembly.

A midwife

International Day of the Midwife

5 May 2019 -- International Day of the Midwife is celebrated each year on 5 May. The theme for this year's celebration is Midwives: Defenders of Women's Rights. All women and newborns have a right to a quality of care that enables a positive childbirth experience that includes respect and dignity, a companion of choice, clear communication by maternity staff, pain relief strategies, mobility in labour and birth position of choice. Midwives are essential to the provision of quality of care, in all settings, globally.

JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro
Mothers and their infants at a maternal care unit.

Countries and partners in the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health meet on accountability and learning

On March 12-14, 2019, the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (Quality of Care Network) will hold its 2nd meeting on Demonstrating accountability and learning from implementation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The success and value of universal health coverage depends on its ability to provide quality services to mothers, newborns and children with dignity, everywhere.

Methodological considerations in guideline development.

Enhancing WHO’s standard guideline development methods

28 January 2019 -- WHO develops guidelines on a broad array of clinical, public health, health system, health promotion and implementation strategies. These interventions are often complex, context-specific, with multiple factors that directly and indirectly impact health and societal outcomes. Standard guideline development methods need to be enhanced to better address these needs. In response WHO commissioned a set of papers, published today in BMJ Global Health, on approaches to improve the process and methods used for evidence-informed decisions about health, addressing complex health interventions and complex systems.

Alert: Chlorhexidine 7,1% digluconate (CHX) aqueous solution or gel (10ml):
Reports of serious eye injury due to errors in administration

WHO has been made aware of multiple, recent reports of eye injury, including blindness,
with the use of chlorhexidine gluconate 7.1%, in nine countries in sub Saharan Africa.

A woman with her baby wrapped close to her chest per Kangaroo Mother Care

Improving maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through evidence based guidelines and guidance.

A father looks into the face of a newborn.

Generating high quality epidemiological information and monitoring and evaluation data to strengthen the uptake and implementation of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health guidelines, policies and programmes.

Data banner.

Consultancy opportunities and RFPs

Contact us

Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA)
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27

Tel.: +41 22 791 3281
Fax: +41 22 791 4853