Whole-System Approach to Saving Mothers in Cross River State, Nigeria

Reducing maternal mortality and ensuring women around the world have equitable access to quality sexual and reproductive health information and services is a global health priority. During the Millennium Development Goal era, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 45 percent—a significant achievement, but short of the goal of 75 percent. In 2012, the Saving Mothers, Giving Life initiative set out to drastically reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in sub-Saharan African countries over a shorter period of time by addressing the three delays to life-saving care and engaging the private sector. Under Saving Mothers, Giving Life, Uganda and Zambia achieved a 44 percent and 41 percent decrease, respectively, in maternal mortality ratios in initiative-supported districts.

Over a three-year period, Nigeria’s Cross River state experienced a 66 percent decrease in maternal mortality from baseline assessments within initiative-supported facilities. Existing documentation explains how interventions in Uganda and Zambia impacted maternal and neonatal mortality ratios. This brief documents how the Saving Mothers, Giving Life approach was adapted to the Cross River state context to achieve substantial declines in mortality in its first three years of implementation.

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