India Part of Health Network to Reduce Maternal, Newborn Deaths

India is among nine countries that have created a United Nations agencies-supported health network to significantly reduce maternal and newborn deaths in health facilities.

The countries’ governments have pledged to halve the deaths at facilities by 2022, according to a U.N. news release.

The other countries in the health network include Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

The new Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health will help countries to improve the quality of care mothers and babies receive in their health facilities and respect the patients’ rights.

“Every mother and infant deserves to receive the highest quality of care when they access health facilities in their communities,” said Dr. Anthony Costello, director of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the U.N. World Health Organization.

With support from the WHO, U.N. Children’s Fund and partners, the Quality of Care Network will use a Web-based system to build a community of health practitioners, which will develop a strategy to improve quality of care, brainstorm ideas and collect information and experiences, the news release said.

The network will also use the U.N. agency’s eight new standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities to improve the provision and quality of healthcare.

The standards include having competent and motivated health professionals, maintaining access to clean water and equipment, and ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of patients.

Each year, some 303,000 women around the world die during pregnancy and childbirth, and some 2.7 million babies die during the first month, it said.

“Births in health facilities have increased in the past decade,” Costello said. “Attention is now shifting from access to care to improving the quality of care so that countries can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals targets to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2030.”

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