LANCET, PMNCH & partners: Stillbirth burden high and invisible

Stillbirth series: Quotes of note

Carole Presern, PhD,. Director PMNCH and midwife: “Stillbirths need to be an integral part of the maternal, newborn and child health agenda. We do know how to prevent most of them. Ultimately, there’s a direct correlation between greatly increased coverage of these interventions and the numbers of deaths averted.”

Flavia Bustreo, M.D., Assistant Director-General for Family and Community Health at the World Health Organization: “Stillbirths often go unrecorded, and are not seen as a major public health problem. Yet, stillbirth is a heartbreaking loss for women and families. We need to acknowledge these losses and do everything we can to prevent them.”

Joy Lawn, M.D., PhD, Director of Global Evidence and Policy, Saving Newborn Lives/Save the Children and a lead author of The Lancet’s Stillbirths Series: “Almost no burden affecting families is so big and yet so invisible both in society and on the global public health agenda.”

J. Frederik Frøen, M.D., PhD, epidemiologist at The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and member of the International Stillbirth Alliance: “Parental groups must join with professional organizations to bring a unified message on stillbirths to government agencies and the UN.”

Vicki Flenady, a perinatal epidemiologist, Chair of the International Stillbirth Alliance, and an author The Lancet’s Stillbirths Series: “An African woman has a 24 times higher chance of having a stillbirth at the time of delivery than a woman in a high-income country.”

Gary L. Darmstadt, M.D., Director, Family Health Division, Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “This Series shows that the way to address the problem of stillbirth is to strengthen existing maternal, newborn, and child health programs by focusing on key interventions, which often overlap with those interventions that benefit mothers and neonates.”

Professor Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, M.D., PhD, Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, The Aga Khan University, Pakistan: “An additional 1.6 million deaths of mothers and newborns could be averted if you add five additional interventions beyond stillbirth interventions, such as antenatal steroids and neonatal resuscitation. This is all highly doable and would save 2.7 million lives -- a massive achievement.”

Robert Pattinson, M.D. of South Africa’s Medical Research Council, who helped develop the analysis tool: “This would provide a triple return for every dollar invested since these interventions can prevent stillbirths as well as save mothers and newborns.” Purnima Mane, Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund: “By shining a spotlight on the tragic toll of stillbirths, we can prevent stigma, relieve suffering and make greater progress to improve the health of every woman and every newborn.”