Katerini T. Storeng

Trust in numbers: The rise of evidence-based advocacy for safe motherhood

The Safe Motherhood Initiative was established as a global health advocacy coalition in the mid-1980s with the primary aim of putting maternal ill health and mortality on the agenda of donors and governments in low-income countries. Drawing on international ethnographic research, the presentation traces a shift over the past two decades from rights-based arguments towards technocratic and instrumental justifications for why maternal health should be prioritized. It explores the historical, political and social specificities that have marginalized rights-based orientations in favour of an “evidence-based” approach safe motherhood advocacy. Specifically, the presentation analyses this shift as an appeal to a pervasive ‘trust in numbers’ within global health governance.

Pregnancy-related ‘near-misses’, health system weaknesses and longer-term survival in Burkina Faso

Maternal near-misses – pregnancy-related complications that nearly result in women’s death – are often considered obstetric successes because ultimately the woman’s life was saved, yet little is known about the subsequent health outcomes of women who experience such events. This presentation will present new findings on longer-term (3-4 year) survival after maternal near misses in Burkina Faso and, on the basis of ‘verbal autopsies’ and in-depth interviews,  explore some of the medical and health systems reasons for high risk of subsequent death among women who initially survive life-threatening complications. The presentation will also include reflection on the study’s methodological challenges and the implications of the findings for global safe motherhood motherhood strategy.

Katerini T. Storeng is post-doc fellow, Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM)/ Section for International Health, University of Oslo; Honorary Lecturer London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
For lunch, please register with siri.lange@cmi.no by 9 May