The Impact of the Safe Motherhood Initiative from 1987 to 2000
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In 1987, the World Health Organization, or WHO, took action to improve the quality of maternal health around the world through the declaration of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, or the SMI, at an international conference concerning maternal mortality in Nairobi, Kenya. Initially, the SMI aimed to reduce the prevalence of maternal mortality around the world, as over 500,000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth annually at the time of its inception, while about 98 percent of those deaths occurred in low-income countries. While WHO led the initiative, many organizations in various countries participated in additional programs in order to implement the goals of the SMI. WHO developed the SMI in order to reduce the prevalence of maternal death, developing one of the first proposals that brought attention to maternal health on a global basis at a time when global maternal mortality was high.