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While the importance of hygiene is increasingly being recognized, far less consideration has been given to the role of the complete WASH package in relation to maternal and newborn health outcomes in both home and facility birth settings.

TitleFrom joint thinking to joint action : a call to action on improving water, sanitation, and hygiene for maternal and newborn health
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsVelleman, Y, Mason, E, Graham, W, Benova, L, Chopra, M, Campbell, OMR, Gordon, B, Wijesekera, S, Hounton, S, J. Mills, E, Curtis, V, Afsana, K, Boisson, S, Magoma, M, Cairncross, S, Cumming, O
Secondary TitlePLoS medicine
Date Published12/2014
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordschild health, health care, hospitals, infants, maternal health

There is sufficient evidence that water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) may impact maternal and newborn health (MNH) to warrant greater attention from all stakeholders involved in improving MNH and achieving universal WASH access.

Enabling stronger integration between the WASH and health sectors has the potential to accelerate progress on MNH; this should be accompanied by improving monitoring of WASH in health care facilities providing MNH services as part of routine national-level monitoring, and at the global level through international instruments.

Global and national efforts to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity should adequately reflect WASH as a pre-requisite for ensuring the quality, effectiveness, and use of health care services.

The Post-2015 development framework is an opportunity for a stronger, more inter-sectoral response to the MNH challenge, and the goals and targets aimed at maximizing healthy lives and increasing access to quality health care should adequately embed WASH targets and success indicators

Further implementation research is needed to identify effective interventions to improve WASH at home and in health care facilities, and to impact on MNH in different health system contexts. (author summary)


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