Quality of care for maternal and newborn health: the neglected agenda

N R van den Broek, W J Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


The quality of care received by mothers and babies in developing countries is often reported as poor. Yet efforts to address this contributory factor to maternal and newborn mortality have received less attention compared with barriers of access to care. The current heightened concern to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5 has illuminated the neglected quality agenda. Whilst there is no universally-accepted definition of "quality care", it is widely acknowledged to embrace multiple levels – from patient to health system, and multiple dimensions, including safety as well as efficiency. Quality care should thus lie at the core of all strategies for accelerating progress towards MDG4 &5. Interventions to measure and improve quality need themselves to be evidence-based. Two promising approaches are maternal and perinatal death reviews and criterion-based audit. These and other quality improvement tools have a crucial role to play in the implementation of effective maternal and newborn care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-21
Number of pages4
JournalBJOG-An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Early online date4 Sept 2009
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • quality of care
  • maternal and newborn health
  • quality improvement tools
  • developing countries


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