Conference themes and tracks

Conference objectives

  1. Advance technical knowledge and information sharing of maternal newborn health issues and disseminate advances on global initiatives.
  2. Showcase innovative and effective solutions and approaches to improving maternal newborn health.
  3. Share country experiences in the successes and challenges of scaling up quality, integrated and equitable maternal and newborn health programs.
  4. Catalyze commitment and action to accelerate momentum for maternal newborn health within the post-2015 development framework.

Conference themes

The Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference 2015 will provide a global forum to understand and respond to the most urgent health needs of mothers and newborns, focusing on the following themes:

  1. Quality care
  2. Integration
  3. Equity

Conference tracks

Presentations at the conference will be grouped into six tracks:

  1. Innovating to accelerate impact at scale
  2. Measuring for evaluation and accountability
  3. Bridging equity divides
  4. Generating new evidence to fill critical knowledge gaps
  5. Strengthening demand for health care
  6. Increasing health systems’ capacity to respond to population need

1) Innovating to accelerate impact at scale

Sessions under this track will focus on scalable programs, processes and products that provide solutions to address current problems or system bottlenecks in integrated maternal and newborn health, including those needed around the time of birth. Presentations may include those that describe innovative approaches or devices; successful and failed implementation experiences; and efforts to promote innovative thinking and maximize local expertise. Innovative strategies to deliver essential, evidence-based, high-impact interventions to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity and stillbirth — especially among high burden and vulnerable populations — will also be considered for this track. In addition, documented evidence of best practices around innovative technologies providing lifesaving solutions for mothers and newborns that could potentially achieve substantial and sustainable impact at scale is invited under this track. Finally, innovative approaches, technologies and systems aimed at reducing barriers to access and improve quality of maternal and newborn care in a wide range of settings will be considered for this track.

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2) Measuring for evaluation and accountability

Sessions under this track will focus on country and global experiences addressing critical gaps in the maternal and newborn health evidence base through implementation science and rigorous monitoring and evaluation. Focus will be on measurement techniques, indicators and methodologies to ensure effective, accessible, inclusive, transparent and equitable coverage with quality. Abstracts that focus on processes and mechanisms for enhancing accountability through the use of metrics and data will be considered. Practices and approaches that improve quality and coverage of vital registration systems and maternal and perinatal clinical information (e.g. death audits) will be also incorporated. Special efforts to measure culturally sensitive and stigmatized conditions such as maternal health among HIV+ women, prevalence and complications of fistula and abortion, stillbirths and the special challenges of women with disabilities will be of interest for this track. Project efforts that support global, national and sub-national efforts to improve measurement strategies, indicators and tools for maternal and newborn health — including improved data collection, synthesis and use of data for decision-making — will be encouraged. Community-based approaches that build local capacity to manage, implement, monitor, evaluate and scale up sustainable and equitable approaches to improve maternal and newborn health are invited under this track.

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3) Bridging equity divides

Sessions under this track will address work in research, programs, policies and technical advocacy that attempt to reach women and newborns who are the most vulnerable based on age, marital status, ethnicity, poverty, geography, disabilities and other social and biological factors. Effective approaches to improve equitable care around labor, birth and the first days after birth will be given priority. Increasing adolescents’ access to quality reproductive and maternal health care that is affordable and acceptable will also be considered. Abstracts focusing on supply-side issues will be considered, including strategies to improve service delivery and care, research and programmatic experiences that offer insight into how best to reach and serve vulnerable populations and policies and advocacy approaches that have proven effective to bridge equity gaps. Work focused on increasing demand for maternal and newborn care from vulnerable populations, including adolescents, will also be considered for this track. Especially relevant under this conference track will be work describing incentives for providers and users, failed and successful experiences with partnerships between the public and a broadly defined private sector (i.e., faith- based organizations, for-profit and non-profit institutions and providers, among others) and community-based solutions.

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4) Generating new evidence to fill critical knowledge gaps

Sessions under this track will focus on projects and experiences that generated new evidence to address critical knowledge gaps in maternal and newborn health and care. Integrated service delivery and quality of care are priority areas. These findings could have been generated through research projects, well-documented program evaluation, policy and advocacy experiences or case studies. Evidence generated from practical implementation experiences will be especially relevant for this track. Abstracts that address successful and failed efforts to improve maternal and perinatal health around the time of birth will both be welcomed. Examples of abstracts that would fit under this track include work that has generated evidence to fill known gaps in knowledge and improve understanding, both in terms of the health care needs of mothers and babies and how best to improve the quality of care they receive. Research on the overarching themes of the conference — i.e. quality, integration of maternal and newborn health care and equity — would be particularly welcome.

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5) Strengthening demand for health care

Sessions under this track will focus on evidence, approaches and experiences to strengthen communities, families and women’s decision-making capacity and demand for quality health care. Programs that seek to mobilize community members to adopt healthy practices and shift social norms to addressing barriers to accessing maternal and newborn health care will be included in this track. The sessions will explore factors such as a woman’s right and ability to make decisions crucial for her health and the health of her newborn and family. Sessions will examine the determinants of health-seeking behavior including the relationship between the perceived quality, accessibility and availability of appropriate care in facilities. Sessions will include individual and community decision-making for the utilization of maternal and newborn health services; the impact of incentive schemes to support access and choice of providers from public, private, and traditional sectors; the influence of demand creation and behavior change interventions on the quality of maternal and newborn health care; strategies to help overcome the special barriers faced by women by virtue of caste, ethnicity, poverty, and other social determinants; and approaches to the provision of more respectful, dignified care.

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6) Increasing health systems’ capacity to respond to population needs

Sessions under this track will address the need for strengthening national health systems to support the effective delivery and scale up of quality maternal and newborn health services, with special emphasis given to health services provided during labor, birth and the first days after birth. Integrated and context-specific approaches to build health systems’ capacity to provide better maternal and newborn health care and incur less cost, including provider incentives schemes, are especially welcome. New and innovative approaches to train health care managers and a wide range of providers will be prioritized. Successful and challenging examples of increasing coordination and synergy building among different cadres of the health workforce (i.e., nurses, midwives, community health workers and physicians) will be of great interest for this track. Sessions will also include strategies to make essential supplies and commodities available; approaches to improve both data generation and use to guide program development, monitoring and service delivery; efforts to develop and promote appropriate policies and equitable financing mechanisms in support of maternal and newborn programs; innovative ways to strengthen the health workforce through training, deployment, and retainment strategies, especially in rural and marginalized urban areas; quality improvement systems and tools to strengthen service delivery; and implementation research to strengthen approaches to effective scale up of quality and equitable services. This track will also include sessions on the role of the private sector in the provision of critical maternal and newborn services, and public-private partnerships.

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