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    The mother-baby package: WHO's guide to saving women's and infants' lives.

    SAFE MOTHERHOOD NEWSLETTER. 1994 Jul-Oct; (15):4-7.

    WHO has developed guidelines to health interventions for safe motherhood entitled the Mother-Baby Package. The guidelines are the minimum levels of care that all pregnant women and newborns should receive. Even though they can be used in any country, they are designed for countries with the most severe problems and most acute constraints on resources. The Package spells out in detail how to prevent and treat pregnancy complications. Basically, prenatal care is needed to recognize complications. Health facilities are needed so the complications can be treated. Women should receive family planning counseling to prevent unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. WHO provides specific guidelines on early diagnosis and health interventions at different levels of care (community, health center, and district hospital) for each major cause of maternal and neonatal mortality. There must be rapid referral and efficient transport of mothers and newborns with emergency conditions to a facility equipped to handle these cases. It emphasizes the need for cleanliness during delivery. WHO also has guidelines on postpartum care of mother and child. It advocates putting the newborn to the breast as soon as possible after birth and exclusive breast feeding. WHO introduced the Mother-Baby Package to health planners from some countries with high maternal mortality levels (Bangladesh, Benin, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Uganda, Viet Nam, Yemen, and Zambia) in April 1994. Mongolia was the first country to translate the Package. District health managers and obstetricians adapted the interventions for local conditions in Mongolia. District health teams are set to implement the interventions soon.
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