Safe Mothers, Safe Babies seeks to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity through demand-driven, collaborative, sustainable, and scalable means.
Indigenous understandings of maternal and child health (MCH) contrast sharply with international definitions. Because international definitions of MCH shape programming decisions and priorities, the disparate nature of these definitions is related to the failure of many MCH projects to address what local citizens view as key aspects of local maternal and child health.
Complications of pregnancy and childbirth and other emergencies need medical attention; most maternal deaths could be prevented if laboring women had timely access to appropriate care. Yet, the majority of women at risk for such complications live in rural areas of the developing world where they live a great distance from a health center, and an even farther distance from a hospital with surgical capabilities. With poor roads, frequent washouts, few and expensive transportation mechanisms, and little other infrastructure, accessing care when needed can be very difficult if not impossible.
Many interventions seeking to improve maternal and neonatal mortality assume the existence of reliable energy infrastructure, and separately public will for such interventions, that simply don't exist. If a provider can't see to perform simply medical tasks because of unrealiable electricity, increasing the availability of skilled care providers or medical supplies can accomplish only so much. Likewise, if women (or other primary health decision makers) refuse to attend the health center to utilize such interventions, would good are they?
Every year, more than 350,000 women die in childbirth while millions more are injured. Despite many attempts to improve these conditions, progress has been minimal. In Uganda, rural villagers attribute this lack of progress to development agents refusing to work with them in designing and implementing development projects.