United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
A Social Determinants Approach to Maternal Health
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It has long been understood that health outcomes are profoundly shaped not just by biological factors but also by the social, economic and cultural environment, including people’s positions in various social hierarchies. Increasing evidence suggests that it is possible to improve health outcomes through action on these social determinants of health. Still, consensus on priority actions and investments to address these social determinants remains elusive. This document contributes to the ongoing debate by considering maternal health and asking what has and can be done to improve maternal health outcomes through action on social determinants.
Maternal mortality is a key indicator for maternal health and reveals dramatic inequalities between and within countries that cannot be attributed to biological differences. Reducing maternal mortality relies on preventing unintended pregnancy
through family planning and reproductive health. Skilled attendance at birth and emergency referrals are also required to reduce both maternal complications and resulting deaths. The characteristics of individual women like age, number of previous pregnancies, and education level play a role in determining whether they seek appropriate services, but the underlying factors influencing health behavior operate at inter-related levels of social influence: family and peers, the community in which women live and the health system available to them, wider cultural norms, the legal and policy environment and overarching governance structures.

UNDP ,   (2011 )
Type / Script:
Progress Report in English
Thematic Group:
 UNDP : Social and Institutional Developoment
08.01.00  -  Population Dynamics
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