Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

About us

Equitable access to quality, integrated health services for mothers, newborns, children and adolescents is critical for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While in past years significant progress has been made in reducing maternal and child deaths, the overall decrease in mortality is not fast enough to reach, by 2015, MDG 4 (reducing child mortality) and MDG 5 (improving maternal health) in all countries. The Department was established in 2011 to address the key challenges, take the lead in WHO's targeted efforts to improve the health of these population groups and support countries to achieve these MDGs.

Our vision

Our vision is a world where every pregnant woman, newborn, child and adolescent enjoys the highest attainable standard of health and development.

Our mission

Our mission is to work closely with other technical units in WHO Headquarters, Regional and Country Offices and partners to:

  • Generate and synthesize evidence and define norms and standards for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health;
  • Support the adoption of evidence-based policies and strategies which conform to international human rights standards, including universal access to health care;
  • Build capacity for high quality, integrated health services for pregnant women, newborns, children and adolescents; and
  • Monitor and measure progress in implementation and the impact of those strategies on survival, health, growth and development.

Strategic approach

Our activities are guided by the principles set out in the Strategic Directions. By fostering a continuum of care that spans from pre-pregnancy, through pregnancy, childhood and adolescence we can best address current and emerging health priorities. By building broad-based partnerships within and outside of WHO it facilitates the harmonization and alignment of all efforts towards the same goals and ensures efficient implementation in countries.

Department structure

Our work is coordinated by a Director's Office and implemented by three technical teams