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Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health

Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health

Since November 2011, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), an initiative based at the Harvard School of Public Health, has collaborated with PLOS to create a freely available, open access collection of outstanding research and commentary on maternal health: the MHTF–PLOS Collection on Maternal Health.

This 3-year partnership reflects a shared overarching goal: to ensure more people 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.

The Collection is produced with support from the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard School of Public Health (www.maternalhealthtaskforce.org).


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The theme of the Year 3 Collection (2013-14) is "integrating health care to meet the needs of the mother-infant pair."

See the Call for Papers editorial here and the Year 3 Collection here.

The theme of the Year 3 Collection was chosen with the aim of strengthening the evidence for approaches to providing integrated care, from preconception; through pregnancy, childbirth and the post-natal period; to the child's early days and years of life. It will build understanding of how and when to integrate maternal and infant health care, especially in relation to conditions like HIV, malaria, exposure to environmental risks and other situations that significantly impact the health of both mother and infant. The recently published articles in the Collection provide research intending to to form a clearer understanding of the importance for the integration of care.


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The theme of the Year 2 Collection (2012-13) was “maternal health is women's health.”

See the Call for Papers editorial and the Year 2 Collection here.

The theme of “maternal health is women's health” was created for the Year 2 Collection because it is crucial to consider maternal health in the context of women's health throughout their lifespans. While pregnancy is limited to women of reproductive age, maternal health is influenced by the health of women and girls before pregnancy, and it also influences women's health broadly during and after the reproductive years. Inability to access quality health care and family planning resources, low educational attainment, low socioeconomic status, restrictive gender roles, poor nutrition, and a host of other social and biological factors combine to put girls and women at risk for not being able to attain and sustain the health status they deserve throughout their lives. The Collection provides over 30 new articles highlighting recent research and commentary to help understand and improve the health of women and girls throughout their lifetime.


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The theme of the Year 1 Collection (2011-12) was “quality of maternal health care.”

See the Call for Papers editorial and the 18 original articles included in the Year 1 Collection here.

While the coverage and reach of maternal health services have increased dramatically in many countries around the world, the quality of those services (both institutional and at the community level) have not improved at the same pace. In fact, the quality of maternal health care is highly variable and often extremely poor, even in locations where there is a commitment to improving maternal health through increased access to skilled care, for example. The 18 original articles in the Year 1 MHTF-PLOS Collection offer outstanding research and commentary to help understand and improve the quality of care provided to mothers and their children.


Image Credit: Jack Zalium at flickr.com