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BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2018 Jun 25;18(1):258. doi: 10.1186/s12884-018-1763-8.

Ending preventable maternal mortality: phase II of a multi-step process to develop a monitoring framework, 2016-2030.

Author information

Maternal Health Task Force, Women & Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 651 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, World Health Organization, 20, Avenue Appia CH-1211, 27, Geneva, Switzerland.
Maternal Health Task Force, Women & Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 651 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211, Geneva, Switzerland.
United Nations Population Fund, 605 3rd Ave, New York, NY, 10158, USA.
Independent Consultant, Stockholm, Sweden.
Johns Hopkins University, 615 N Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA.
Averting Maternal Death & Disability Program (AMDD), Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 60 Haven Avenue, B3, New York, NY, 10032, USA.



In February 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released "Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM)" (EPMM Strategies), a direction-setting report outlining global targets and strategies for reducing maternal mortality in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) period. In May 2015, the EPMM Working Group outlined a plan to develop a comprehensive monitoring framework to track progress toward the achievement of these targets and priorities. This monitoring framework was developed in two phases. Phase I, which focused on identifying indicators related to the proximal causes of maternal mortality, was completed in October 2015. This paper describes the process and results of Phase II, which was completed in November 2016 and aimed to build consensus on a set of indicators that capture information on the social, political, and economic determinants of maternal health and mortality.


A total of 150 experts from more than 78 organizations worldwide participated in this second phase of the process to develop a comprehensive monitoring framework for EPMM. The experts considered a total of 118 indicators grouped into the 11 key themes outlined in the EPMM report, ultimately reaching consensus on a set of 25 indicators, five equity stratifiers, and one transparency stratifier.


The indicators identified in Phase II will be used along with the Phase I indicators to monitor progress towards ending preventable maternal deaths. Together, they provide a means for monitoring not only the essential clinical interventions needed to save lives but also the equally important political, social, economic and health system determinants of maternal health and survival. These distal factors are essential to creating the enabling environment and high-performing health systems needed to ensure high-quality clinical care at the point of service for every woman, her fetus and newborn. They complement and support other monitoring efforts, in particular the "Survive, Thrive, and Transform" agenda laid out by the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health (2016-2030) and the SDG3 global target on maternal mortality.


Indicators; Maternal health; Maternal mortality; Monitoring; Social determinants of health

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