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Maternal and newborn health

Despite a global decline, maternal and neonatal mortality rates are still unacceptably high, with substantial inequalities around the world. Developing regions are especially affected: maternal mortality is still 14 times higher than in the developed world. Reduction in neonatal mortality is also progressing much slower in developing regions compared to the overall reduction in under-five mortality rates. 

The differences can be explained by the (non)availability of adequate, accessible, affordable and appropriate care, with quality care increasingly identified as a key factor in reducing illness and mortality. At KIT Royal Tropical Institute we work towards better health for mothers and newborns, using our broad experience in this field.


Challenges that contribute to maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity included early marriage and early pregnancy, unmet need for family planning, and high rates of unintended pregnancies – often leading to unsafe abortions. Evidence to guide and prioritise effective responses to address the above challenges is mostly available. But details on context-specific conditions for implementation and the scaling-up of interventions remains a challenge. Implementation is hindered by a lack of adequate human resources and has spurred efforts to strengthen the role of Community Health Workers. However the integration of these interventions into health systems remains problematic.

Focus on hard-to-reach groups

KIT’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) team works in close collaboration with partners to address these challenges. We work on the generation of knowledge and building the capacity of community and non-governmental organisations that support vulnerable populations such as: young girls giving birth, women living in remote rural areas or in poor urban areas, marginalised groups such as nomadic populations, and those affected by conflict.

We also work on maternal health from a health systems perspective focusing on:

Our services

  • Monitoring, Evaluation & Impact Assessment

    Monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment are powerful tools to assess health, social, and economic impact. They allow us to learn what works and why. Our expertise and track record in these areas make us well-equipped to evaluate your work. 

  • Policy & Programme Design

    KIT Royal Tropical Institute operates at the intersection of theory and practice and between policy and implementation, translating good intentions into meaningful social and economic impact.

Contact us

Do you have a question or want to know more? Contact us by sending an e-mail.


  • Improving Maternal Health through Social Accountability in Burundi and DRC

    • Institute
    • Project

    By using participatory research, this project investigates if and how social accountability mechanisms improve responsiveness and performance of maternal health services in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It further assesses in which contexts these mechanisms are successful and why, leading to policy recommendations for maternal health in both countries. Intervention planning and […]

  • Results-Based Financing for Maternal Health in Mali

    • Institute
    • Project

    At the request of the Malian Ministry of Health (MoH), KIT undertook action-research in order to develop a model for results-based financing (RBF) in the Koulikoro Region of Mali. Better financing to reduce maternal mortality Across Africa all avenues are being explored in order to achieve the most problematic of the ten Millennium Development Goals (MDG): […]

  • Assessing Ultrasound Outreach

    • Institute
    • Project

    KIT worked with the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology (ISUOG), to assess their outreach programme and provide strategic directions to improve global access to obstetric and gynaecology ultrasound. As of 2020, ISUOG aims to move to more comprehensive programming for its areas of impact: training & education and beyond, including global access […]

  • Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition in Sierra Leone: Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices, and Barriers

    • Institute
    • Project

    Malnutrition and undernutrition remains a serious health problem for many mothers, infants and children in Sierra Leone. In 2019, KIT conducted a national study to better understand men’s and women’s knowledge, attitudes and practices towards children’s development and wellbeing, with an emphasis on nutrition.  Behavioural Change Communication  This study was designed to help the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation develop a Behavioural Change Communication strategy […]

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Topics


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