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Member Research and Reports

Johns Hopkins: Large-Scale Initiative Linked to Reductions in Maternal and Newborn Deaths in Indonesia

A U.S.-funded initiative to improve quality of care and referrals during pregnancy and childbirth in Indonesia resulted in significant reductions in maternal and newborn mortality at participating hospitals, according to a new study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The $55-million initiative, known as Expanding Maternal and Neonatal Survival (EMAS), was sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2011 to 2017 and supported the Indonesian Ministry of Health’s efforts to improve the quality of emergency obstetric and newborn care and referrals in that country.

The study appears in a special supplement of the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. The researchers found that in the Indonesian health facilities where the EMAS intervention was implemented, maternal and very early newborn mortality rates within 24 hours of birth fell by 50 percent and 21 percent, respectively, over the four years following the onset of EMAS support.

“These key indicators of the quality of emergency obstetric and newborn care improved significantly at hospitals after EMAS support, suggesting that the program did improve the quality of care,” says study lead author Dr. Saifuddin Ahmed, professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of population, family and reproductive health.

The study involved a collaboration with several international and Indonesian institutions including Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins-affiliated nonprofit organization that led the EMAS program in Indonesia.

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