Academic Publication

Generating Political Priority for Maternal Mortality Reduction in 5 Developing Countries

Jeremy Shiffman
American Journal for Public Health
Publication Year:
July 07, 2020
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being


This study consists of case studies of maternal mortality in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. Although maternal mortality is recognized as a global problem,  there is still a lack of governmental response. This study seeks to answer a couple essential questions: "to what extent is maternal mortality reduction on the national policy agenda, and what factors have facilitated or obstructed political priority for the cause?" This publication used several methods to answer these questions, including interviews conducted with former ministries and secretaries, government policy documents, and health reports. As consistent with previous research, there are many that factors explain why the maternal mortality rate has not decreased, such as insufficient donor resources, lack of consensus on intervention strategies, weak health systems, and lack of generating national political support for particular health goals.


In conclusion, government officials "were most successful [in addressing maternal mortality] when they formed cohesive policy communities, were led by respected national political entrepreneurs, deployed credible indicators to show a serious problem existed, organized focusing events such as national forums to promote visibility for the cause, and developed clear policy alternatives to demonstrate to national leaders that the problem was surmountable."


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