Practical lessons from global safe motherhood initiatives: time for a new focus on implementation

Lynn P. Freedman, Wendy J. Graham, Ellen Brazier, Jeffrey M. Smith, Tim Ensor, Vincent Fauveau, Ellen Themmen, Sheena Currie, Koki Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

130 Citations (Scopus)


The time is right to shift the focus of the global maternal health community to the challenges of effective implementation of services within districts. 20 years after the launch of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, the community has reached a broad consensus about priority interventions, incorporated these interventions into national policy documents, and organised globally in coalition with the newborn and child health communities. With changes in policy processes to emphasise country ownership, funding harmonisation, and results-based financing, the capacity of countries to implement services urgently needs to be strengthened. In this article, four global maternal health initiatives draw on their complementary experiences to identify a set of the central lessons on which to build a new, collaborative effort to implement equitable, sustainable maternal health services at scale. This implementation effort should focus on specific steps for strengthening the capacity of the district health system to convert inputs into functioning services that are accessible to and used by all segments of the population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1391
Number of pages9
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9595
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2007


  • emergency obstetric care
  • maternal mortality
  • developing-countries
  • process indicators
  • health-services
  • deaths
  • Bangladesh
  • resources
  • programs
  • needs


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