Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Maternal health

Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems essential for women's and children's health

A man shows a registration card, while holding his child.
Plan International

February 2018 -- WHO and UNICEF called for greater committment to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, key to increasing access to services and entitlements for women and children. In a Joint Statement released at the recent International Conference on Innovations in CRVS systems in Otawa, Canada, they restated their committment to work with governments and partners to implement evidence-based strategies for strengthening CRVS systems, to support innovative approaches and to ensure the needs of marginalised and vulnerable populations are addressed.

Intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience

Parents with their newborn baby, Malaysia.
WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

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.

New collaboration to advance maternal immunization

A mother smiles while carrying her young child

11 September 2017 -- A newly launched Advancing Maternal Immunization (AMI) collaboration is bringing together stakeholders from around the world to improve infant health and survival through maternal immunization, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The collaboration is meeting an urgent need for pregnant mothers to be able to protect their babies from infectious diseases by getting vaccinated themselves.

WHO toolkit for the care and support of people affected by complications associated with Zika virus


June 2017 – The WHO Toolkit for the care and support of people affected by complications associated with Zika virus has been developed to serve as a model guide, with the goal of enhancing country preparedness for Zika virus outbreaks. The toolkit is intended to provide a systems approach involving public health planners and managers so that the necessary infrastructure and resources can be identified and incorporated as needed, as well as technical and practical guidance for health care professionals and community workers.

Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth: A guide for midwives and doctors

Health physician examining a pregnant woman in Cuba

June 2017 -- Since the first edition was published in 2000, Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth has been translated into several languages and today is used widely in training for and the provision of emergency obstetric care. The new edition brings the guidance in the manual into line with WHO’s current recommendations for emergency obstetric and newborn care.

International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress 2017

A midwife helps a mother breastfeed her newborn.
WHO/K. Reidy

19 June 2017 -- WHO has a significant presence at the 31st ICM Congress where over 4000 midwives, policy makers, donors, civil society and government representatives from 116 midwifery associations, representing 102 countries across every continent are gathering in Toronto. The theme for this year is “Midwives - Making a difference in the world” with daily themes of: leadership, partnerships, professionalism and supporting women’s and girls’ rights.

International Day of the Midwife 2017

A midwife counsels a woman in a clinic.

Every year 5 May is celebrated globally as the International Day of the Midwife. The theme for this year celebration is "Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!" Midwives everywhere understand that by working in partnership with women and their families they can support them to make better decisions about what they need to have a safe and fulfilling birth. The event is organised each year by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). There is also a Virtual International Day of the Midwife: an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery.

World Immunization Week 24-30 April

The Indigenous Health Teams members check vaccine packaging, Brazil.
WHO/A. Zambrana

The journey of vaccines in Brazil. Thanks to a highly effective National Immunization Programme, most Brazilian parents can feel confident that their children will get the lifesaving vaccines they need – when they need them. Routine vaccination coverage in the country averages above 95% for most vaccines on the child immunization schedule every year – exceeding WHO’s recommendation of at least 90% coverage.

Let's talk about depression - Women with young babies

7 April, World Health Day – Depression after childbirth is common. It causes mental anguish and can prevent people from being able to carry out family responsibilities fully. Yet depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of depression will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help. This short video, focusing on depression among women with young babies, highlights some of the symptoms of depression following childbirth and the importance of talking as the first step towards getting help.