This short article, written to mark the 20th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood initiative, highlights ten major advances over those 20 years – some evidence of life-saving interventions, others strategic developments in public health and the political arena. There is a strong argument for celebrating and communicating these advances. Not to do so would seem to disregard or underplay the determined efforts of so many people over two decades, and to run the risk of losing potential future support by conveying only failures. And for the future, there is much to do. It is necessary to focus on seeking evidence that is directly relevant to policy and practice: it is not enough to generate good evidence without ensuring optimal access for all pregnant women. The evidence must tell us not only what is happening, but why, and how more progress can be made.
Hussein, J. Celebrating progress toward safer pregnancy. Reproductive Health Matters (2007) 15 (30) 216-218.