Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Commentary

Advancing maternal survival in the global context: are our strategies working?

Omar A Khan12*, Richard Derman3 and Nancy L Sloan4

Author Affiliations

1 Community Health & Preventive Medicine and Director, Global Health Residency Track, Department of Family & Community Medicine Christiana Care Health System, 3506 Kennett Pike/PMRI, Wilmington, DE 19807, USA

2 Department of Family & Community Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

3 Marie E. Pinizzotto Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director, Center for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, Christiana Care Health System; Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Thomas Jefferson University, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road Suite 1903, Newark, DE 19713, USA

4 Epidemiologist, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Christiana Care Health System, Department of Population & Family Health; Columbia University School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:689  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-689

Published: 29 July 2013


There have been significant gains in improving maternal mortality over the last two decades. Researchers have suggested a variety of interventions and mechanisms to explain these improvements. While it is likely that much of what has been done in research and programs has contributed to this decline, the evidence regarding what works in the settings in which women deliver continues to face many challenges. We review the evidence for these improvements and suggest that there remain areas to focus on, particularly the births which currently take place in an unsupervised or substandard environments. We highlight the main areas where more evidence is needed, and end with a call to determine which of our interventions seem to have the most benefit; which do not; and where to invest future resources.

Maternal health; Postpartum hemorrhage; Child mortality