Political Dimensions of Maternal Mortality Reduction in India and Nigeria: Implications for Achieving the Health MDGs

Jeremy Shiffman, Syracuse University

The maternal health goals of the MDGs are not likely to be achieved if India and Nigeria do not experience dramatic declines in maternal mortality, as these two countries together contribute nearly one-third of the global total. This paper studies the political dynamics of safe motherhood in India and Nigeria. It is based on more than fifty in-depth interviews with safe motherhood stakeholders in these two countries, including key individuals in the Ministries of Health, donors and NGO officials. Preliminary results indicate that policy windows for safe motherhood have opened up but that the state of political priority for safe motherhood in these countries is embryonic at best. The study highlights the point that the achievement of the health goals of the MDGs is as much a matter of national and sub-national politics of developing country nation-states, as it is an international issue or a technical or medical concern.

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Presented in Session 173: Reproductive Health and Mortality in the Developing World