Safe Childbirth Checklist
In 2010, 287 000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth, some 2.6 million stillbirths occurred worldwide, and nearly 3 million newborns died within their first month of life. The majority of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings and most could have been prevented.
In response to this unacceptable situation, WHO has developed the Pilot Edition of the Safe Childbirth Checklist, to support the delivery of essential maternal and perinatal care practices. The WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist contains 29 items addressing the major causes of maternal death (namely, haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour and hypertensive disorders), intrapartum-related stillbirths (namely, inadequate intrapartum care), and neonatal deaths (namely birth asphyxia, infection and complications related to prematurity) in low-income countries. It was developed following a rigorous methodology and tested for usability in ten countries across Africa and Asia.
WHO is providing strategic oversight to a multi-centred randomized controlled trial in over 100 hospitals to test whether adoption of the Checklist improves health outcomes for mothers and neonates. The trial is being conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is estimated that the study will be completed in 2015.
The Safe Childbirth Checklist Collaboration
WHO is pleased to launch a collaborative field-testing exercise to explore implementation and usability of the checklist in multiple settings. WHO encourages the participation of health-care institutions, research organizations, nongovernmental organizations and others who are interested in improving maternal and newborn health. Participants from around the world are invited to conduct implementation research and generate information on the most effective ways of implementing and using the checklist, in a range of settings.
- If you would like to learn more about the Collaboration and its participation requirements, please click here.
The Safe Childbirth Checklist programme represents a joint effort of WHO, acting through its Patient Safety Programme, and its Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, and Department of Reproductive Health and Research, as well as the Harvard School of Public Health, in addition to many other experts from around the world.