Maternal & Child Health

Maternal & Child Health

Every day, an estimated 810 women die from preventable pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes around the world. When a woman dies or becomes disabled from pregnancy or childbirth, the consequences can impact families for decades.

For newborn children in countries with limited resources, HIV presents a severe threat to growing up healthy. Globally, more than 90 percent of infants and young children with HIV contract the virus from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. While the risk of transmission from mother to child can be as high as 45 percent, with targeted interventions, this risk can be reduced to as little as two percent.

Ensuring the health of women and their infants requires that all women have access to accessible, high-quality antenatal care during pregnancy, skilled care during labor and delivery, and care and support during the postpartum period.

Maternal & Child Health by the Numbers

Of pregnant women in priority countries on ARV
New HIV infections prevented through PMTCT

ICAP’s Focus on Maternal & Child Health

ICAP works with educational institutions and ministries of health and education to ensure that health workers receive the pre-service and in-service training they need to prevent maternal mortality. This includes enhancing curricula, improving the training of preceptors, implementing simulation labs that allow health workers to practice treating common causes of maternal death, and developing continuing professional development modules that build health worker capacity in areas such as infection control and partograph use.

 ICAP also supports integrated programs for maternal and child health and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). This includes ensuring that health workers are trained and the systems are in place to identify HIV-infected pregnant women during antenatal care and to provide HIV care and treatment services during pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. Psychosocial support is an integral component of ICAP-supported PMTCT programs. 

Through individual counseling and support groups, HIV-infected mothers and family members learn about treatment adherence, coping skills, and safer infant feeding practices. ICAP’s uniquely family-centered approach means that supported PMTCT programs also provide testing and follow-up care to HIV-exposed infants and the partners and family members of HIV-infected mothers.

To expand the available evidence base related to maternal and child health, ICAP conducts cutting-edge research that leverages its vast implementation experience. For example, in Eswatini, ICAP collaborated with the Ministry of Health to evaluate the impact of Option B+ on mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and, in Kenya, ICAP partnered with the Ministry of Health to evaluate a lay counselor-led intervention to increase retention among mothers entering PMTCT care.