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Table of Contents: Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health Year 1: Quality of Maternal Health Care

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Image Credit: Jack Zalium at flickr.com
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Each year still close to 300,000 women unnecessarily die trying to give birth—a staggering number that ensures the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality will regrettably not be met. However, important progress has been made: considerable reductions in maternal deaths globally and in specific locations have been achieved, and the most cost-effective interventions to prevent and successfully manage all major causes of maternal morbidity and mortality (including good nutrition, access to contraception, skilled attendance at delivery, and emergency obstetric care) have been identified. With new global pledges and a more reliable scientific understanding of what it takes to prevent deaths and disability among women and children worldwide, the time to accelerate progress to achieve maternal health goals is now.

Vexing our road to success, however, is the continued lack of access to knowledge on maternal health in many settings, which is a major limitation to all of human development. The Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at the Harvard School of Public Health is concerned that the chasm between those who have access to information on maternal health and those who do not will widen. The MHTF's overarching goal is access: more people should have greater access to more comprehensive maternal health data, programmatic experiences and lessons learned, and to be informed about critical areas of debate and growing consensus. In order to achieve the goal of greater access, the MHTF is collaborating with PLOS to create a freely available, open access collection of published research and commentary on maternal health care: the MHTF-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health.

The MHTF-PLOS partnership is for three years. Each year the collection will have a different focus, and in 2011-2012 the theme was "quality of maternal health care."

Below you will find our November 29, 2011 editorial and Call for Papers, plus the 19 original articles comprising the Year 1 Collection.

Regular updates on the MHTF-PLOS partnership and the theme for Year 2 (2012-13) are available at the main Collection page: www.ploscollections.org/maternalhealth

Editorial

Quality of Maternal Health Care: A Call for Papers for a Maternal Health Task Force–PLoS Collection

Samantha R. Lattof, Mary Nell Wegner, Ana Langer , and the PLoS Medicine Editors

Perspective

Health in Action

Developing and Costing Local Strategies to Improve Maternal and Child Health: The Investment Case Framework

Eliana Jimenez Soto, Sophie La Vincente, Andrew Clark, Sonja Firth, Alison Morgan, Zoe Dettrick, Prarthna Dayal, Bernardino M. Aldaba, Beena Varghese, Laksono Trisnantoro, Yogendra Prasai , Investment Case Team for India, Indonesia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines

The Midwives Service Scheme in Nigeria

Seye Abimbola, Ugo Okoli, Olalekan Olubajo, Mohammed J. Abdullahi, Muhammad A. Pate

Policy Forums

New Signal Functions to Measure the Ability of Health Facilities to Provide Routine and Emergency Newborn Care

Sabine Gabrysch, Giulia Civitelli, Karen M. Edmond, Matthews Mathai, Moazzam Ali, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Oona M. R. Campbell

Serious and Life-Threatening Pregnancy-Related Infections: Opportunities to Reduce the Global Burden

Courtney A. Gravett, Michael G. Gravett, Emily T. Martin, Jeffrey D. Bernson, Sadaf Khan, David S. Boyle, Sophia M. R. Lannon, Janna Patterson, Craig E. Rubens, Matthew S. Steele

Research Articles

Plasma Concentrations of Soluble Endoglin versus Standard Evaluation in Patients with Suspected Preeclampsia

Sarosh Rana, Ana Sofia Cerdeira, Julia Wenger, Saira Salahuddin, Kee-Hak Lim, Steven J. Ralston, Ravi I. Thadhani, S. Ananth Karumanchi

Maternal Mortality in Henan Province, China: Changes between 1996 and 2009

Fengzhi You, Kaiming Huo, Ruili Wang, Dongmei Xu, Jie Deng, Ying Wei, Fenglian Shi, Hongyang Liu, Guomei Cheng, Zhan Zhang, Ping Yang, Tao Sun, Xiaoyang Wang, Bo Jacobsson, Changlian Zhu

Cesarean Section Rates and Indications in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Multi-Country Study from Medecins sans Frontieres

Kathryn Chu, Hilde Cortier, Fernando Maldonado, Tshiteng Mashant, Nathan Ford, Miguel Trelles

Comprehensive Approach to Improving Maternal Health and Achieving MDG 5: Report from the Mountains of Lesotho

Hind Satti, Sophie Motsamai, Palesa Chetane, Leshoboro Marumo, Donna J. Barry, Jennifer Riley, Megan M. McLaughlin, Kwonjune J. Seung, Joia S. Mukherjee

The Role of HIV-Related Stigma in Utilization of Skilled Childbirth Services in Rural Kenya: A Prospective Mixed-Methods Study

Janet M. Turan, Abigail H. Hatcher, José Medema-Wijnveen, Maricianah Onono, Suellen Miller, Elizabeth A. Bukusi, Bulent Turan, Craig R. Cohen

Productivity Cost Due to Maternal Ill Health in Sri Lanka

Suneth Agampodi, Thilini Agampodi, Nuwan Wickramasinghe, Santhushya Fernando, Umanga Chathurani, Wathsala Adhikari, Ishani Dharshika, Dhanaseela Nugegoda, Samath Dharmaratne, David Newlands

Consequences of Gestational Diabetes in an Urban Hospital in Viet Nam: A Prospective Cohort Study

Jane E. Hirst, Thach S. Tran, My An T. Do, Jonathan M. Morris, Heather E. Jeffery

Community Mobilization in Mumbai Slums to Improve Perinatal Care and Outcomes: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Neena Shah More, Ujwala Bapat, Sushmita Das, Glyn Alcock, Sarita Patil, Maya Porel, Leena Vaidya, Armida Fernandez, Wasundhara Joshi, David Osrin

Socio-Economic Inequalities in the Use of Postnatal Care in India

Abhishek Singh, Sabu S. Padmadas, Udaya S. Mishra, Saseendran Pallikadavath, Fiifi A. Johnson, Zoe Matthews

Improving Quality of Care for Maternal and Newborn Health: Prospective Pilot Study of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist Program

Jonathan M. Spector, Priya Agrawal, Bhala Kodkany, Stuart Lipsitz, Angela Lashoher, Gerald Dziekan, Rajiv Bahl, Mario Merialdi, Matthews Mathai, Claire Lemer, Atul Gawande