Saving Mothers, Giving Life 2018 Final Report: Results of a Five-Year Partnership to Reduce Maternal and Newborn Mortality

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When the Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership launched, many doubted that we could significantly reduce maternal and newborn deaths in high-burden, low-resource sub-Saharan African countries in five years’ time. Yet, by working in partnership with the Governments of Cross River State, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia, Saving Mothers, Giving Life has achieved impressive results.

In five years, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 44% in Saving Mothers, Giving Life districts in Uganda and by 41% in Zambia. In only two years, maternal mortality dropped by 28% in Saving Mothers, Giving Life facilities in Cross River State, Nigeria. We attribute the partnership’s success to the comprehensive approach undertaken at the outset — strengthening district health systems to surmount the obstacles to a safe pregnancy and childbirth. Saving Mothers, Giving Life did not limit its focus to one cause of maternal death or one type of facility. Instead, our systems approach created a strong district-wide safety net to protect women’s and newborns’ lives, leveraging the infrastructure and lessons-learned from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which has been so successful in reducing HIV/AIDS.

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