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What are maternal health policies in developing countries and who drives them? A review of the last half-century.
In: Safe motherhood strategies: a review of the evidence, edited by Vincent De Brouwere, Wim Van Lerberghe. Antwerp, Belgium, ITGPress, 2001. 412-445. (Studies in Health Services Organisation and Policy No. 17)This paper examines maternal health policies in developing countries and identifies contributions made by policy makers, health professionals and users. It starts by reviewing the broader health systems within which maternity services sit, and the specific maternity-service configurations that appear to lead to low maternal mortality. Next, it lays out the main actors (politicians and policy makers, health professionals and women’s groups) operating internationally. This is followed by presenting the maternal health policy agenda at the international level and discussing the ideological paradigms that influenced these policies. Mention of the main actors (as above but including and organised groups of service users) at the national level is more superficial, but examples of the impact of various actors on national-level maternal health policies are given. The overall aim is to better understand how policies have developed and to suggest lessons and ways forward for the future. (author's)