Improving Maternal Health Measurement Capacity and Use (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.

Project Aims and Goal

The “Improving Maternal Health Measurement Capacity and Use” project will work closely with countries to further develop, test and validate a subset of the indicators in the monitoring framework. The project will provide 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.


As a multi-partner initiative, this project will leverage and coordinate 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 will lead this project with specific efforts coordinated by the Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) in partnership with the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health (MSH). The individuals and organizations represented within the EPMM Working Group—including Maternal Health Task Force, WHO, WRA, the FCI Program of MSH, Jhpiego, the Maternal Child Survival Program of USAID (MCSP), UNFPA, UNICEF and USAID—will also provide support throughout the life of the project.

Project Updates


Measurement and accountability for maternal, newborn and child health: fit for 2030?

National Dialogue Reports

EPMM IMHM Bangladesh National Dialogue Report

EPMM IMHM Cote d’Ivoire National Dialogue Report

EPMM IMHM India National Dialogue Report

EPMM IMHM Kenya National Dialogue Report

EPMM IMHM Mexico National Dialogue Report

EPMM IMHM Nigeria National Dialogue Report

EPMM IMHM Pakistan National Dialogue Report


30 June 2020 – Building a post-COVID-19 health system: Insights from Strategies to End Preventable Maternal Mortality

12 December 2019 – Protocol Published by EN-BIRTH Study to Assess Validity of Newborn and Maternal Coverage Measurement in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Tanzania 

29 July 2019 – Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: What Will it Take?

9 January 2019 – Advancing Maternal Health Measurement Through Coordination

31 October 2018 – New Commentary Emphasizes the Roles of Measurement and Social Determinants in Improving Maternal Mortality Rates in the US

26 September 2018 – The Women and Health Initiative Partners with Institute for Clinical Effectiveness, University of Ghana, and Population Council to Test Maternal Health Indicators

20 September 2018 – Improving Maternal Health Measurement: A National Dialogue in Kenya

6 September 2018 – New Commentary Highlights the Urgent Need to End Preventable Maternal Mortality

15 August 2018 – Developing a Measurement Framework for Social, Political and Economic Determinants of Maternal Health 

1 October 2017 – Harvard Chan School’s Women and Health Initiative Receives $4 million to Improve Maternal Health Measurement


Learn more about Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality>>