McMaster Health Forum contributes to labour and childbirth toolkit released by the WHO

Image of baby's foot

A scientific lead from the McMaster Health Forum is among a group of international experts who contributed to a toolkit recently published by the World Health Organization (WHO) that provides guidance for care during and immediately after childbirth.

The toolkit provides detailed information and resources to close the gap between labour and postnatal care recommendations released by the WHO in 2018 and 2022, and current policies and practices.

Ahmednur Ali, scientific lead of Equity-Driven Evidence Support and editor of Health Systems Evidence at the McMaster Health Forum, was a member of the toolkit’s Technical Working Group.

The McMaster Health Forum’s goal is to generate action on pressing health and social issues based on the best-available research evidence, as well as experiences and insights from citizens, professionals, organizational leaders and government policymakers.

“I am grateful for the invaluable experience working with the brilliant minds in the Technical Working Group on this, and I sincerely hope the intended stakeholders make the most of this toolkit to drive meaningful impact in maternal and newborn care,” said Ali, who graduated from the Health Policy PhD program at McMaster earlier this year.

“The toolkit addresses the multiple barriers to guideline implementation, beyond just knowledge and skills, with the aim of improving maternal, fetal, and newborn outcomes by ensuring that the recommendations are put into practice,” said Ali.

The primary target audience for the toolkit includes policy-makers, health care facility managers, implementers and managers of maternal and child health programmes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and professional societies involved in the planning and management of maternal and child health services.

“At McMaster, the birthplace of evidence-based medicine, we take impacting on health worldwide very seriously – from generating evidence in clinical trials, to facilitating relevant actors in implementing best practices. It is a proud moment for the university to lend our expertise to a rigorous, evidence-based approach for improved maternal and newborn care on an international scale,” said Alfonso Iorio, professor and chair of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) at McMaster.

Jon Barrett, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McMaster University, said his department, together with HEI, wholeheartedly supports this work and continues to advance maternal health, both nationally and globally.

“Our departments and investigators have been at the forefront of leading Canada in efforts to establish a confidential inquiry into maternal mortality, as well as a nationwide review system of maternal morbidity,” said Barrett. “Faculty member Rohan D’Souza is leading the group working towards the development and establishment of a Canada-wide survey system for pregnancy-related morbidity, with seed funding from a Hamilton Academic Health Sciences Organization (HAHSO) Innovation Grant.”

Barrett was recently invited by the government of Guyana to help establish infrastructure for reporting, reviewing and reducing maternal mortality and morbidity.

“We look forward to building on the toolkit and collaborating with the WHO in this important international effort to save mothers lives.”



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