Maternal health symposium highlights lessons for Africa


The Centre for Health Policy (CHP) hosted a symposium on ‘Global Insights on Health System and Community Interventions to Improve Maternal Health – Lessons for South Africa’ on 14 March 2014 to disseminate results from a number of CHP projects.

The meeting was attended by over 100 delegates, including policy makers, academics, non-governmental organisations and advocacy groups. Presentations dealt with male interventions for improving maternal health outcomes, waiting homes during pregnancy, improved health systems interventions and funding of health systems research which could lead to improved maternal and child health status and wellbeing.

Delegates speaking from the floor voiced their concerns about South Africa’s ‘unacceptably high’ maternal mortality rate. They proposed that while current initiatives could not be dropped, solutions could include task-shifting and food parcels. They agreed a multi-sectoral approach was required for the numerous vulnerabilities which poor women face.

“This symposium vividly depicted the social vulnerability of pregnant women and the conditions into which so many children are born. The solutions proposed could help to reverse the adverse effects of poverty on maternal health, and child health and development,” said conference convenor, CHP’s Associate Professor Matthew Chersich.

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