Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. The UN’s adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in September 2015 reaffirmed the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality as global priorities in the coming decade. The World Health Organisation Safe Childbirth Checklist has been developed to ensure the delivery of essential maternal and perinatal care practices. The Safe Childbirth Checklist aims to help frontline health workers to prevent avoidable childbirth-related mortality and morbidity. The Checklist addresses the major causes of maternal death (haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour and hypertensive disorders), intrapartum-related stillbirths (inadequate intrapartum care), and neonatal deaths (birth asphyxia, infection and complications related to prematurity). Successful completion of checklist items by healthcare workers will help keep the woman and baby safe as the checklist catalogues a core set of practices that are proven to reduce maternal and newborn harm. The practices described in the checklist items should be conducted at every birth. This chapter utilises experiences gained in Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia during the Pfizer Independent Grant for Learning and Change supported Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria Improving Maternal Health in sub-Saharan Africa project to describe the checklist and how it can be used to deliver lifesaving midwifery care and enhance maternal health.
Part of the book: Selected Topics in Midwifery Care