Immpact makes an impact at international conference on maternal health

Immpact makes an impact at international conference on maternal health

Aberdeen researchers who have been working for the last decade to help make pregnancy and childbirth safer in developing countries are playing a key role in a major three-day conference beginning in Africa tomorrow (January 15).

Immpact - the University of Aberdeen’s global initiative striving to improve the health of mothers and babies ( – is represented at the Global Maternal Health Conference 2013, which will bring  almost 1000 scientists, researchers and policymakers together in Arusha, Tanzania to share knowledge and build on progress towards eradicating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

Professor Wendy Graham, who heads Immpact, will join dignitaries, such as the Minister of Health for Rwanda and the World Health Organization’s new director of reproductive health research, in the opening panel discussion on the theme of the conference – the quality of care received by mothers and babies in the developing world.

A special issue of the prestigious journal PLoS Medicine* prepared for the conference includes a key paper by Immpact researchers, Dr Julia Hussein and Lovney Kanguru, and an invited commentary on quality of care by Professor Graham.

“With just 2 years left before the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, this meeting will help to identify urgent actions to accelerate progress in reducing deaths among mothers and babies,” said Professor Graham.

“Although the numbers have fallen steadily at the global level, in some of the poorest countries there has been little or no decline at all. Each year almost 300,000 women die of pregnancy-related complications and almost three million babies die in the first month of life, with the vast majority of these tragedies occurring in low-income countries.

“The quality of care provided to mothers and babies, especially at the time of delivery, is vital to their survival and well-being. This has been a message Immpact has emphasised from its outset in 2002 and it is reassuring to see this become the focus of attention at a major international conference.

 “We are particularly delighted that the conference will feature many of the partners Immpact has worked with over the last 10 years from a large number of countries, including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malawi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.”

Professor Graham's presentation will be streamed live on the GMHC website.