PMNCH Fact Sheet: RMNCH Continuum of care

Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health

Updated September 2011

What is the Continuum of Care?

The "Continuum of Care" for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) includes integrated service delivery for mothers and children from pre-pregnancy to delivery, the immediate postnatal period, and childhood. Such care is provided by families and communities, through outpatient services, clinics and other health facilities.

The Continuum of Care recognizes that safe childbirth is critical to the health of both the woman and the newborn child—and that a healthy start in life is an essential step towards a sound childhood and a productive life.

What are the dimensions and importance of the Continuum of Care?

The first dimension of the Continuum of Care is time - from pre-pregnancy, through pregnancy, childbirth, and the early days and years of life (Figure 1. Connecting care giving across the Continuum for maternal, newborn and child health).

The second dimension of the Continuum of Care is place - linking the various levels of home, community, and health facilities (Figure 2. Connecting care giving between households and health facilities to reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths).

Linking interventions in this way is important because it can reduce costs by allowing greater efficiency, increase uptake and provide opportunities for promoting related healthcare elements (e.g. postpartum/postnatal and newborn care).

Where are the current gaps in the Continuum of Care?

Find the latest on the gaps and challenges to providing services through the RMNCH Continuum of Care in the PMNCH Knowledge Summary 2: The Continuum of Care. Link below to this four-page summary on the Continuum of Care.

Continuum of Care chart

1The Global Call to Leaders and Other Donors .
2The Inter-Agency Group for Safe Motherhood.
3Lawn, J. "for the Price Tag for Newborn and Child Survival." Presentation at Child Survival Countdown to 2015, December 2005.
4Countdown to 2015 website
5Tracking progress in Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival: Countdown to 2015- The 2008 Report
6The Lancet: The Countdown to 2015 Issue - April 2008