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Jordan's Safe Motherhood Program


  • Jordan’s maternal mortality rate was high.
  • Abt implemented the Safe Motherhood program to reduce maternal deaths.
  • The program, including a new database, will reduce deaths further.
The Challenge

The estimated maternal mortality rate of 62 per 100,000 live births was high for a country with 99 percent antenatal coverage and 99 percent of births in hospitals. Pregnancy-induced hypertension was the No. 1 cause of maternal mortality. Harmful (and sometimes fatal) practices and substandard care were both prevalent and avoidable. Obstetrics and neonatal departments at almost all public sector hospitals were seriously overcrowded, hindering timely, quality services and compromising emergency outcomes. Infection control in delivery wards and neonatal units was poor.

The Approach

Abt implemented the Safe Motherhood program under the Health System Strengthening project and follow-on projects to tackle the challenges by working with the Government of Jordan to improve practices in obstetrics departments at all public sector hospitals. The program renovated and expanded 20 public hospital obstetrics departments, bought them updated equipment, standardized clinical practices and established supportive health services.  

The Results

The program helped reduce maternal deaths due to pre-eclampsia/eclampsia from 20 percent in 1996 to 6.6 percent in 2009 so that it no longer was the leading cause of maternal death. Abt also helped the government improve data used for maternal health interventions decision-making by establishing a Maternal Mortality Surveillance and Response (MMSR) System. The model includes mechanisms for maternal death identification, notification, review, analysis and response to guide actions to prevent future maternal deaths and improve the measurement of maternal mortality.

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