The Network
Kantu Fanta, mother of 6, nurses her baby at home in Amari Yewebesh Kebele of Amhara Region in Ethiopia, in July 2013. ©UNICEF/Ose

While the rate of skilled care during childbirth has increased from 58% in 1990 to 73% in 2013, mostly due to increases in facility-based births, giving birth in a health facility does not equate with a safe birth. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 303,000 mothers and 2.7 million newborn infants die annually around the time of childbirth, and many more are affected by preventable illness.

WHO and UNICEF are launching a Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (Quality of Care Network).

The vision of the Quality of Care Network is that every pregnant woman, newborn and child receives good quality care in health services, with the ambitious goal to halve maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths in health facilities within five years in the participating countries.

The Quality of Care Network is underpinned by the values of quality, equity and dignity. It will look at quality of care both in the way it is delivered by health workers, and experienced by patients.

What will the Network do?
  • Focus on national leadership by strengthening national and district governance quality of care structures, and helping develop national plans and advocacy strategies for improving quality of care.

  • Accelerate action by adapting and adopting WHO’s eight Standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities at country level, creating national packages of quality improvement interventions and develop, trengthen and sustain clinical and managerial capabilities to support quality of care improvement.

  • Foster learning and generate evidence on quality of care through a Learning Platform - a community of health practitioners from around the world co-developing and sharing knowledge, country data and research to inform maternal and newborn quality of care improvement work in countries. The Learning Platform’s outcomes will feed into the WHO-led Global Learning Laboratory for Quality Universal Health Coverage.

  • Develop and support institutions and mechanisms for accountability for quality of care by designing a national accountability framework, and monitoring the progress of the Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

The Partners

The Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Children Health currently involves ten countries that are already taking leadership to improve quality of care in health services: Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Led by the Ministry of health, the Quality of Care Network brings together health care professionals and providers, technical and funding partners to foster, accelerate and sustain quality of care improvement for maternal, newborn and child health.