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WHO recommendations on maternal health: Guidelines approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee

World Health Organization (WHO), (2017)

Updated May 2017
This document is meant to respond to the questions:
■ What health interventions should be delivered during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period?
■ What health behaviours should the women practise (or not practise) during these periods to care for herself and her baby?

Daily iron supplementation in postpartum women

World Health Organization (WHO), (2016)

Iron deficiency is one of the most common forms of nutritional deficiencies, particularly among vulnerable groups such as women, children and low-income populations. Iron deficiency often precedes anaemia, and anaemia during pregnancy is one of the strongest predictors of anaemia during the postpartum period, beginning just after childbirth throughout the subsequent 6 weeks. The consequences of iron deficiency and anaemia during the postpartum period can be serious and have long-term health implications for the mother and her infant.
This guideline reviews the evidence on the safety and effectiveness of iron supplementation in postpartum women.

Remarkable progress, new horizons and renewed commitment: Ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths in South-East Asia Region

World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for South-East-Asia, (2016)

At the threshold of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) era, this document captures the remarkable achievements by Member States towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5. It acknowledges new opportunities in the post-2015 phase shaped by the SDGs and the Global Strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and presents an advanced state of preparedness in the Region. This also highlights the region’s renewed commitment for a more inclusive and more dynamic flagship action for ending preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality as well as to improve women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing in the South-East Asia Region.

Evaluation of WHO's contribution to maternal health in the South-East Asia Region

World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for South-East-Asia, (2016)

The Report describes the evaluation of WHO's contribution to the Maternal Health Program in South-East Asia Region. This was an independent evaluation conducted in 2015 by Amaltas, a Delhi based organization. The evaluation highlights the progress in five countries, namely Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka and provides specific recommendations for Organizational Learning and Development. This report will be useful for all those interested in WHO's work on Maternal Health Program in the Region.

Guideline: Vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women

World Health Organization (WHO), (2012)

Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be common among pregnant women, particularly during the winter months, and has been found to be associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, preterm birth, and other tissue-specific conditions. This guideline is intended for a wide audience including policy-makers, their expert advisers, and technical and programme staff at organizations involved in the design, implementation and scaling-up of nutrition actions for public health.

Care of the HIV-Exposed Infant

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), (2018)

This clinical job aid addresses the importance of maternal health and antiretroviral therapy adherence, as well as care and testing for the HIV-exposed infant until the infant’s final HIV diagnosis after the end of breastfeeding.

WHO study shows drug could save thousands of women’s lives

World Health Organization WHO, (2018)

A new formulation of a drug to prevent excessive bleeding following childbirth could save thousands of women’s lives in low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to a study led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with MSD for Mothers and Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Currently WHO recommends oxytocin as the first-choice drug for preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth. Oxytocin, however, must be stored and transported at 2–8 degrees Celsius, which is hard to do, in many countries, depriving many women of access to this lifesaving drug. When they can obtain it, the drug may be less effective because of heat exposure.

Defining competent maternal and newborn health professionals

World Health Organization WHO; UNFPA; UNICEF; et al., (2018)

Background document to the 2018 joint statement by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, ICM, ICN, FIGO and IPA: definition of skilled health personnel providing care during childbirth

Definition of skilled health personnel providing care during childbirth: the 2018 joint statement

World Health Organization WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, ICM, ICN, FIGO and IPA, (2018)

This statement presents the 2018 definition of skilled health personnel providing care during childbirth (also widely known as a “skilled birth attendants” or SBAs). It results from the recent review and revision of the 2004 joint statement by WHO, FIGO and ICM – Making pregnancy safe: the critical role of the skilled attendant.

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