What is it about?

Canada is not a driver of global maternal mortality reduction work but has a responsibility to work in partnership with countries or regions in a humble and supportive role. • Applying a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to reducing maternal mortality in the Global South includes adopting a community health centre model: a community development approach to address social determinants of health and integrating various systems of evidence-informed health care with a commitment to social justice. • Interdisciplinary teams would include literacy professionals, researchers, midwives, nurses, family physicians, OB/GYNs, and community development professionals who specialize in anti-poverty work, mediation/dialogue, and education campaigns that emphasize the value of all people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, and income. • Diasporic Canadians are invaluable members of these teams due to their linguistic and cultural knowledge as well as their enthusiasm for working with their countries of origin. • Establishment of long term partnerships of 5-10 years between a Canadian team and a region or nation in the Global South that is dedicated to reducing maternal mortality and improving women’s health are valuable. • Canada’s midwifery education programs are rated as world leaders so connecting midwives from Canada with those of the Global South will facilitate essential transfer of knowledge such as using birth plans and other evidence-based practices. Skilled attendants at the birthplace will save women’s lives; in most cases, trained midwives are the most appropriate attendants.

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Why is it important?

We examine perspectives from health care professionals with international experience on the strategies for reducing maternal mortality in the Global South. We move beyond the question of what works to find strategies for ongoing cooperation between high resource countries such as Canada and many lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Partnerships that offer a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach that addresses the social determinants of health in addition to maternal health will be more successful in reducing maternal mortality with long term effects.


Completing this project was a unique opportunity to reach out to health professionals with so much international experience and hear their first-hand perspectives on a global dilemma. I hope the work my co-authors and I did to synthesize our findings will encourage more partnerships with the goal of improving maternal health in LMICs.

Chris Laugen
University of British Columbia

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This page is a summary of: Power of partnerships, International Journal of Health Governance, November 2019, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/ijhg-06-2019-0045.
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