While major progress has been made over the past two decades to improve mortality outcomes in women and newborn— major disparities remain in survival rates around the time of birth for mothers and infants born in high-, middle- and low-income countries. A significant gap continues to exist between actual and achievable health care outcomes, primarily because effective interventions are not implemented for every patient, every time. While access to and use of services for childbirth care has increased globally, and in some countries beyond expectations, the quality of care remains an impediment to accelerating the pace of reductions in preventable maternal and newborn mortality and stillbirths worldwide. The evidence for what to do to close the disparities gap has been known for years but there has been limited success in understanding how to implement these interventions.

This International Joint Statement was reviewed and endorsed by the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), and the International Pediatric Association (IPA).

The statement was developed by the United States Agency for International Development’s Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) with support from the Every Preemie-SCALE project, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives project.