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Am J Public Health. 2007 May;97(5):796-803. Epub 2007 Mar 29.

Generating political priority for maternal mortality reduction in 5 developing countries.

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  • 1Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020, USA.


I conducted case studies on the level of political priority given to maternal mortality reduction in 5 countries: Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. Among the factors that shaped political priority were international agency efforts to establish a global norm about the unacceptability of maternal death; those agencies' provision of financial and technical resources; the degree of cohesion among national safe motherhood policy communities; the presence of national political champions to promote the cause; the deployment of credible evidence to show policymakers a problem existed; the generation of clear policy alternatives to demonstrate the problem was surmountable; and the organization of attention-generating events to create national visibility for the issue. The experiences of these 5 countries offer guidance on how political priority can be generated for other health causes in developing countries.

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