The Urban Disadvantage: Maternal and Newborn Inequalities Among the Urban Poor


By 2050 an estimated 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, and 90 percent of the increase in urbanization will be concentrated in Asia and Africa. Approximately 30 percent of deaths among children under five occur in urban areas. Lack of safe drinking water, poor management of waste and sewage, and poor quality or illegal housing create multiple public health challenges. In such settings, high burdens of adolescent pregnancy, unsafe abortions, and inequitable access to skilled attendance at delivery are detrimental to the health of mothers and newborns.

Save the Children’s 2015 State of the World’s Mothers report provided a comprehensive overview of “the urban disadvantage.” Since then Save the Children has undertaken further research to understand the health challenges in urban areas.

On January 24, please join the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, Urban Sustainability Laboratory, and Save the Children for a discussion of the findings of a new urban maternal and newborn health landscaping study completed by Save the Children in collaboration with Columbia University’s Averting Maternal Death and Disability program. The discussion will highlight issues emerging from Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, and elsewhere.


Lani Crane, Specialist, Health and Nutrition, Save the Children

Lynn Freedman, Director, Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program, Columbia University

Shanon McNab, ‎Associate Director, Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program, Columbia University


Robert Clay, Vice President, Global Health, Save the Children


Roger-Mark De Souza, Director, Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Wilson Center