Making Pregnancy Safer


The Making Pregnancy Safer (MPS) Programme supports Member States to develop, implement and evaluate MPS programmes for quality maternal and newborn care and services delivery in order to reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality in the African Region.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn child

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn childAlcohol impacts people and societies in different ways and is determined by the volume of alcohol consumed, the pattern of drinking, and, on rare occasions, the quality of alcohol consumed. Alcohol is a psychoactive substance and its harmful use is known to have dependence-producing properties and cause more than 200 diseases among drinkers as well as devastating effects to innocent victims such as unborn children.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, preterm birth, still birth, spontaneous abortion, and contribute to a range of disabilities known as foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD is an umbrella term referring to an array of conditions involving impairments of the growth and development of the central nervous system caused by alcohol intake during pregnancy.

How to save the lives of newborns in Africa

How to save the lives of newborns in AfricaBrazzaville, 17 December 2014 - According to a new WHO report, one third of all neonatal deaths occur in the African Region. Approximately three quarters of these deaths occur during the first week of life and almost half within the first 24 hours.
The first 28 days of life, called the neonatal period, is a very risky period for babies. For every newborn baby that dies, another 20 will face illness or disability from conditions such as birth injury, infection, the inability to breathe normally after birth, neonatal tetanus, congenital anomalies, and the complications of premature birth.

Key messages

  • Every pregnancy should be wanted.
  • All pregnant women and their infants should be able to access and receive skilled care.
  • All women should be able to reach a functioning health facility to obtain appropriate care for themselves or their newborns when complications arise during pregnancy, delivery or the postpartum period.
  • Safe pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are basic human rights.

Featured publications:

Consensus on Essential Competencies of Skilled Attendant in the African RegionAccelerating Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive HealthWHO Recommendations
for the Prevention of
Postpartum Haemorrhage