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Education for safe motherhood: a Save the Mothers' advocacy initiative

Jean Chamberlain (Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)
Susan Watt (Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 3 October 2008




The provision of and access to healthcare for pregnant women is a complicated labyrinth of social and health‐related issues. The purpose of this paper is to discuss a new approach by the Save the Mothers organization to stimulate changes leading to safer and healthier pregnancies for Ugandan women using a Master of Public Health Leadership (MPHL) as the mechanism for education, advocacy, and network development.


Save the Mothers developed and supports a modular, post‐graduate, multi‐disciplinary MPHL. This training is designed to develop public health leaders who create transformative local projects and networks of professionals advocating for safe motherhood and consequent decreased child mortality.


Students and graduates have begun to change the conditions in Uganda for women and children by promoting safe motherhood practices and policies. Examples include a journalist, a politician, a social worker, and a school principal who have brought the issues into their spheres of influence and practice. Measurement of the impact of this approach is ongoing.

Practical implications

This program provides a locally based, culturally appropriate approach to change, which could be adapted to a variety of other locales and development issues. This program permits practicing professionals to remain employed while undertaking advanced training, establishes the implementation of local projects, and links a graduate university program with diverse community leaders.


This unique approach within Africa may be a model for the development of multidisciplinary, education‐based initiatives to change conditions in developing countries using existing expertise and stimulating effective advancement through safe motherhood networks.



Chamberlain, J. and Watt, S. (2008), "Education for safe motherhood: a Save the Mothers' advocacy initiative", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 278-289.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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