Access to and Quality of Maternal Health Medicines and Care

“Respectful maternal care was said to be more than just a means to an end, and can be framed as several issues: human rights, quality of care, equity and public health,” Jocalyn Clark, senior editor of PLoS Medicine, noted on the final day of the 2013 Global Maternal Health Conference (GMHC).

Quality of care seems to have been a consistent theme from the first day of the conference. Without proper progress towards access to quality medicines and care, maternal health will continue to be at risk.

The conference brought together scientists, researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to share knowledge, ideas, innovations, research, programs and policies to discuss quality and access, among several other topics. Participants also worked on building progress towards reducing and eliminating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

SIAPS’ Maheen Malik and Jane Briggs presented on the first day of the conference during the Improving Access to Essential Maternal Health Medicines session to an audience of about 50 participants.

Ms. Malik’s presentation on an advocacy tool being developed by SIAPS to assess the unmet medical need of maternal health medicines drew participants’ interest and appreciation of the estimation tools’ formalization. The tool, which can be used at the country level, is intended to improve future procurement of maternal health medicines so that countries are not left with stock-outs or shortages to treat two principal causes of maternal deaths – hypertension and post-partum hemorrhage.

Ms. Briggs presented on the importance of correct management of maternal health medicines to assure their quality, highlighting some examples from surveys conducted in Rwanda and Kenya. Her presentation was met with interest and participants commented on the importance of maintaining a strong distribution system but also linking it to strategies of increasing geographical access.

Find out more about the various topics discussed at the conference here and view pictures here.