Global Perinatal Nursing Research: Sustainable Development Goals Update


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Global health experts suggest that there is an urgent need for research supporting healthcare for childbearing women that is both respectful and evidence-based beyond “too little, too late and too much too soon.”1(p1) The purpose of this editorial is to describe global perinatal research priorities, provide examples of global collaborative networking and research, identify global perinatal nursing research priorities, and describe exemplary global maternal health nursing research.Six years ago, in the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, global perinatal research priorities were identified.2 This editorial provides an update to the 2011 editorial, which focused on the critical importance of the provision of evidence-based maternal healthcare. The current editorial also reflects the movement of the global community from the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 to the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 include maternal targets to ensure there are fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births by 2030.3A landmark multidisciplinary action plan for the improvement of maternal health is summarized in the significant 2016 Lancet series on maternal health. This series covers the epidemiology of maternal health, the current state of maternal healthcare services, and future challenges, synthesizing 10 years of evidence. It also creates a vision of potential strategies to improve maternal well-being through 2030. This series concludes with an agenda for change: high-quality care for every woman everywhere; equity through universal health coverage; increased healthcare system resilience, strength, and responsiveness; sustainable financing for maternal/newborn healthcare; and better evidence, advocacy, and accountability for progress (www.thelancet.com/.../mathealth2016-exec-summ..).4 This agenda should be utilized to generate global perinatal nursing research priorities.GLOBAL PERINATAL RESEARCH PRIORITIESDiffering global collaborative perinatal research priorities have been developed by multiple global organizations, based on frameworks and goals, global partnerships, funding priorities, emerging infectious diseases, and surveys of global stakeholders.For example, the Centers for Disease Control Global Maternal and Child Health Strategies have generated a comprehensive framework with the goal to reduce perinatal maternal morbidity and mortality. This goal can be accomplished through (a) strengthening prenatal care, (b) improving emergency obstetric coverage and quality, and (c) enhancing access to family planning and preconception health.5 These goals can be utilized to streamline global perinatal nursing research priorities.Funding agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development offer financial support for evidence-based interventions including skilled care at birth, emergency obstetric care, improved access to family planning, prenatal care, malaria, and human immunodeficiency virus prevention/treatment; nutritional supplementation; wash, sanitation, and hygiene efforts, and health systems strengthening in 24 priority countries mainly in Africa and Southern Asia. Funding guidelines include outcomes evaluation of interventions.5Another innovative example of global collaborative networking is the March of Dimes Global Program, which provides an exemplary model of networking with global partners in the establishment of the Global Network for Maternal and Infant Health (with partners in Latin America, the eastern Mediterranean, the western Pacific, and China (http://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/global-programs.aspx). Their work includes systematic data collection on adverse birth outcomes and consistent methodological approaches to generating knowledge on lessons learned from clinical initiatives.The World Health Organization offers guidance on pregnancy management within the context of emerging infections such as the recent Zika virus outbreaks. This includes recommendations for outcomes evaluation of interventions to reduce perinatal transmission of this virus, which is associated with severe birth defects.6The Harvard Maternal Health Task Force queried 26 global maternal health researchers about research priorities, generating a working paper (