Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

A young girl and her great-grandmother, Guatemala.

New quality of care standards to save lives and improve the health of children and young adolescents

24 April 2018 -- In 2016 an estimated 6.6 million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable causes. Evidence shows that gaps in the quality of care contribute to complications and deaths among children. To address these gaps WHO and partners have produced new quality of care standards to improve both the provision and experience of care and call for health facilities to create a child- and young adolescent-friendly environment.

A woman and infant look into eachother's faces.

Nurturing Care Framework for early childhood development nears completion

The Nurturing Care Framework for early childhood development builds on state-of-the-art evidence of effective interventions and recognises the critical importance of an enabling environment, with policies, information and services in a range of sectors including health, nutrition, education, social protection and child protection. The Framework has now completed a second online consultation. The finalized Framework will be launched at the time of the World Health Assembly in May 2018.

An infographic showing what is required for a positive childbirth experience.

Individualized, supportive care key to positive childbirth experience

15 February 2018 – Whilst much is known about the clinical management of labour and childbirth less attention is paid to what, beyond clinical interventions, needs to be done to make women feel safe, comfortable and positive about the experience. An increased medicalization of the process can undermine a woman’s own capability in giving birth and negatively impact her experience. These new recommendations bring together existing and new recommendations that address not only the clinical requirements for a safe labour and childbirth but also meet the psychological and emotional needs of women.

A collage of images representing maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.

Year in Review 2017

22 December 2017 – This review of activities by WHO's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health includes a range of activities from country implementation guidance for adolescent health, the establishemnt of a Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, a report on the global implementation of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), the development of a nurturing care framework for early child development, an evidence map of social, behavioural and community engagement interventions to new guidelines on child overweight and obesity.

A graphic saying End Violence Against Women.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

25 November 2017 -- This important event is marked by individuals and organizations worldwide to raise awareness about this global issue and to take a stand to counter violence against women and girls. It is followed by 16 days of activism against gender based violence, which culminate on the 10th December, Human Rights Day. During this time, people are encouraged to wear orange, and buildings are lit up in the same colour, to symbolise a future without violence.

A mother feeds her preterm newborns.

World Prematurity Day - "Let them thrive"

17 November 2017 -- World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden of death and disability and the pain and suffering that preterm birth causes, as well as a chance to talk about solutions. This year the theme is "Let them thrive," focusing on quality, equity and dignity. On this day, WHO, UNICEF and PATH have released a policy statement on ensuring equitable access to human milk for all infants

A group of women meeting at a rally.

An evidence map to better target research on social, behavioural and community engagement interventions for women’s and children’s health

6 November 2017 -- WHO, 3ie and PMNCH have launched an evidence map and online tool to make available existing research on the effectiveness of social, behavioural and community engagement interventions for improving women’s and children’s health. It shows though there is a considerable body of evidence from which we can draw upon for lessons learned, there are still significant gaps in the evidence base.

OXFAM East Africa/J Ferguson

A woman with her baby wrapped close to her chest per Kangaroo Mother Care

Improving maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through evidence based guidelines and guidance.

A father looks into the face of a newborn.

Generating high quality epidemiological information and monitoring and evaluation data to strengthen the uptake and implementation of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health guidelines, policies and programmes.

A midwife with a mother and newborn.

Quality of care means safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and people-centred health care.

Quick facts banner.

Factsheets and infographics


Contact us

Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA)
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27

Tel.: +41 22 791 3281
Fax: +41 22 791 4853