Standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities.
Quality of care is increasingly recognized internationally as a critical aspect of the unfinished maternal and newborn health agenda, mainly with respect to care around labour and delivery and in the immediate postnatal period. It is recognized that high coverage alone is not enough to reduce mortality. To reduce maternal and neonatal mortality substantially and move towards elimination of preventable causes of maternal and newborn death, increased coverage should be accompanied by improved quality throughout the continuum of care.
The quality of care framework, standards of care and quality measures may be used to guide the preparation of national standards of care and measures for improving, assessing and monitoring the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns in health facilities. The framework can also be used as a basis for quality improvement strategies and activities and for incorporating quality into existing national programmes. The framework, standards of care and quality measures are intended primarily for use by policy-makers, programme managers, health planners at national, subnational, district and facility levels, maternal and newborn health care professionals, and professional bodies or technical partners involved in quality of care or which advise ministries of health. They can also be used as a resource in medical training institutions.