About IMHM

Ending preventable maternal mortality and correcting unacceptable levels of disparity are essential to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which focuses on ensuring healthy lives for all. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released “Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM),” a direction-setting report outlining targets and strategies for all countries that will contribute to reducing global maternal mortality in the SDG period. To plan, track and accelerate progress towards ending preventable maternal mortality, representatives from UN agencies, academia, research and international development and advocacy agencies led the development of a comprehensive monitoring framework for ending preventable maternal mortality. The framework contains 25 indicators and 6 stratifiers that address the full spectrum of determinants of maternal health and survival.

The Improving Maternal Health Measurement Capacity and Use (IMHM) project works closely with countries to further develop, test and validate a subset of the indicators in the monitoring framework. The project provides technical assistance and resources to encourage indicator adoption and routine use. By doing so, we aim to improve measurement capacity for maternal health through a) the development and validation of indicators to inform global standards, and b) support to countries for the adoption and use of the indicators. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide much-needed knowledge, research and evaluation data as well as validated measurement tools for tracking progress towards ending preventable maternal mortality effectively and efficiently.

The project will encourage country engagement, ownership and investment to apply a human rights-based approach to reduce maternal mortality by addressing the full spectrum of the determinants of maternal health and survival. The project will also support country decision-makers in setting maternal health priorities for the global health agenda that respond to the needs of their citizens and, in doing so, drive change both at home and around the world.

Expected Outcomes

1. A set of well-developed, tested and validated indicators focused on maternal health and survival.
2. Increased adoption and use of the EPMM indicators by country decision-makers.
3. Greater country engagement and commitment to improving maternal health.

Project Activities

  • Discussion and Refinement of Selected Core EPMM Indicator Definitions
  • Testing and Validation of Selected Core EPMM Indicators
  • Selection and Development of Additional EPMM Indicators
  • Support for National Dialogues to Foster Country-level Adoption and Use of EPMM Strategies and Monitoring Framework
  • Coordination and Sharing with Other Measurement Efforts


As a multi-partner initiative, this project leverages and coordinates the strengths, resources, and relevant ongoing work of a diverse set of implementing agencies. The Women & Health Initiative of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health leads this project with specific efforts coordinated by the Department of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) in partnership with the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health (MSH). Individuals and organizations providing provide support throughout the life of the project come from WHO, WRA, the FCI Program of MSH, Jhpiego, UNFPA, UNICEF and USAID and make up the IMHM Project advisory committee. Click here for more details on the IMHM project’s core staff and research partners.