My Special Reports

“I’ve condensed my Strategy into Up the Stairway to Maternal-Newborn-Child Health.  The Stairway is based on the best practices and lessons I’ve learned during my career.  And the Stairway has been peer reviewed.  You can download the Stairway and use it in your work – it’s especially useful as a tool for participatory planning workshops.  Please note the inclusion of Gender Equity in Step 1: Gender Equity, and Women’s Empowerment are derived from Millennium Development Goal 3. They offer an excellent foundation for the other steps in the stairway.  Also, please note the word “Truth” at the end of each step: Truth refers to the important facts required to replace the many myths and fallacies that exist in every culture.  It is important to include “Know the Truth” campaigns in your behavior change communications and to communicate the campaign through all the available media for each target group.”  



My Strategy for Strengthening Maternal-Newborn-Child Health

The importance of mothers. A generation ago Alan Rosenfield, the late guru of international Mother and Child Health at Columbia University, famously asked: “Where is the ‘M’ in MCH?” His ‘M’ meant Mother. He was asking because he was an obstetrician who knew that women in developing countries faced many risks as a result of pregnancy and child-birth. To understand the challenging life of one typical, poor girl click on my Dangerous Stairway to Reproductive Health

The importance of a mother’s death. Maternal mortality rates are very high in developing countries – often 40 or 50 times the rates in industrialized countries.  Importantly, we now know that a maternal death can be disastrous for the entire family because it may lead to the death of one or more of her other young children. For example, a UNICEF study in rural Bangladesh showed the chances of children surviving to age 10 was as high as 89% when their mothers survived the birth process, but as low as 24% when their mothers did not survive the birth process. The study also showed that the impact of a father's death on child survival was negligible.

The importance of a mother’s survival. The enormous importance of women is being recognized in high places. For example, The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 3 reminds us of the need to recognize the importance of women and of women’s needs for equity and empowerment. The United Nations’ agencies, development banks and many governments are strengthening their recommendations on women’s equity, equality and leadership. In other words, we are beginning to see a greater, stronger “M” in MCH. 

My MNCH strategy. Here, you can download a one-page summary of my Up the Stairway to Maternal-Newborn-Child Health.  It is guided by Millennium Development Goals 3,4,5,6 and the  Maternal-Newborn-Child Health (MNCH) Continuum of Care. The Stairway is designed for mothers of reproductive age, as well as adolescent girls, recognizing them as “brides to be” and “mothers to be” who need to Know the Truth about reproductive and sexual health. Implementers of the strategy might include health professionals, community midwives, other community-based women, plus decision-makers at every level, such as husbands, fathers, community leaders, religious leaders, government officials and politicians. Implementation of the strategy will require pervasive and persuasive advocacy communications.  

Would you like my assistance?  I specialize in managing Maternal-Newborn-Child Health programs and projects in developing countries. If you want more information about my 40 years of MNCH experience, go to my CV/Resume, or email

With my very best wishes for your Maternal-Neonatal-Child Health programs and projects.

John Davies, Doctor of Public Health, senior consultant in Maternal-Newborn-Child Health, Nutrition and Birth Spacing.

Updated August, 2012


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Maternal, Reproductive & Sexual Health
Birth Spacing /Contraception
Child Nutrition, Oral Rehydration, Immunization
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