Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Quality of care

Strengthening quality midwifery education

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

Midwifery education is a key solution to the challenge of providing universal and quality maternal and newborn care to meet our Sustainable Development Goals. While improving access to care is critical, ensuring good quality of care has an even greater impact in terms of lives saved. WHO, ICM, UNFPA and UNICEF are finalising a report and action plan for strengthening quality midwifery education to be released at the World Health Assembly, 20-28 May 2019.

Improving the quality of paediatric care: an operational guide for facility-based audit and review of paediatric mortality

This operational guide provides guidance for establishing and conducting paediatric death audit and review as part of the overall quality of care improvement at the health facility. Death review or mortality audit is a means of documenting the causes of a death and the factors that contributed to it, identifying factors that could be modified and actions that could prevent future deaths, putting the actions into place and reviewing the outcomes. This document also complements the audit and review of stillbirths and neonatal deaths guide by providing guidance on review and auditing of paediatric deaths; adverse events, near-misses and other paediatric clinical cases of interest.

Towards the implementation of effective, scalable and sustainable improvements in quality of care

Sara and her newborn son in Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi.

The Quality of Care Network has released a new document which sets out the four strategic objectives of the Network: leadership, action, learning, and accountability. The strategic objectives are underpinned by the importance of community engagement in improving the quality of care. They were reached by consensus among the Quality of Care Network countries and partners present at the Network launch meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, in February 2017.

Midwives are essential to the provision of quality of care, in all settings, globally

A graphic of mother, newborn and midwife.
International Conference of Midwives

5 May is International Day of the Midwife 2018. This year the focus is on quality of care. 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. Evidence shows us that midwives educated and regulated to international standards can provide 87% of the needs of all women and newborns, and that continuity of midwife-led care increases maternal satisfaction and prevents pre-term birth by 24%.

New quality of care standards to save lives and improve the health of children and young adolescents

A young girl and her grandmother.

24 April 2018 -- In 2016 an estimated 6.6 million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable causes. Evidence shows that gaps in the quality of care contribute to complications and deaths among children. To address these gaps WHO and partners have produced new quality of care standards to improve both the provision and experience of care and call for health facilities to create a child- and young adolescent-friendly environment.

A series of Quality of Care Network webinars on capacity building for improving quality of care in health facilities

Women and their babies queue outside the maternity ward of Kissidougou Hospital in the town of Kissidougou, Guinea, in May 2010.

The Quality of Care Network, through its global Learning Platform, is building a community of health practitioners across all levels of service delivery, to harvest local implementation ideas and share experiences within and across countries. As part of its learning activities, the Quality of Care Network is organizing a series of webinars on selected topics on quality of care improvement from a country perspective, as well as quality improvement implementation science.

A Network to halve maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana.

February 2017 -- Many women, their babies and children still die, or suffer from life-long disabilities, even after reaching a health facility, due to poor care practices. Improving the quality of care provided is of utmost urgency. With a target of halving maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years, national governments from 9 first wave countries and partners are joining forces to establish a Network to improve the quality of care provided to mothers, newborns and children. The Network will support countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve the vision set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.


The vision for the Quality of Care Network is that every pregnant woman and newborn receives quality care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.

What do we mean by Quality of Care?

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East  region of Ghana.

Quality of care is defined as ‘the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes.’

What is the Quality of Care Network?

Midwifery training, Afghanistan.

Broadening the focus from access to care to include quality of care, WHO and UNICEF are launching a Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health to cut preventable maternal and newborn illness and deaths, and to improve every mother’s experience of care.

Quality midwifery care for mothers and newborns

A midwife with mother and baby: Malawi.
White Ribbon Alliance

The evidence shows us that midwifery plays a “vital” role, and when provided by educated, trained, regulated, licensed midwives, is associated with improved quality of care and rapid and sustained reductions in maternal and newborn mortality.

Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescent's Health 2016-2030

Cover of the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health.

Quality, Equity, Dignity efforts will build on and leverage the important work of partners committed to the Every Woman Every Child Global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and its targets to end preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality and stillbirths.