The aim is to highlight issues affecting maternal health with a special focus in developing country. This will go along way addressing Millennium Development Goal Five (5), whose aim is to improve maternal health by reducing maternal mortality ratio by three quarter by 2015 and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.
Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. While motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, for too many women it is associated with suffering, ill-health and even death. In Africa health services utilizations are very low, particularly maternal and child health care. Women’s autonomy regarding maternal and child health are important factors in determining health seeking behavior.
Comprehensive and integrated primary maternal health care is a concept that takes into account the complexity of the interaction of physiological, social and psychological factors for maternal health care provision at primary and community level. As such, it offers a solution for addressing maternal health. It can be achieved by taking into account WHO's building blocks for health systems, i.e. appropriate and timely service delivery, a trained health workforce at primary care level, improved health information systems, equitable access to essential medicines and enhanced financing, and effective leadership/governance at national, local, health facility and community levels.
Maternal health is fundamental to achieving global health targets relating to women and children because of its direct and potentially long-term impact on their general well-being and social and economic participation. It also influences women’s care-giving capabilities, which in turn impacts children’s health and development. Addressing maternal health requires comprehensive and holistic models of care in which psychosocial assessment and treatment can be provided through integrated primary health care. Access to simple, reliable and affordable means of identification and management of mental health problems is a basic human right.