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Women Deliver: Oxford’s Online Strategy

June 8, 2010

The Women Deliver conference (, is running June 7-9 2010 and the GAB team is present! It is a global meeting on maternal and reproductive health and the advancement of women and girls. Tune in today, tomorrow, and Wednesday for live updates directly from the conference floor.

After lunch, I made my way to the next press conference which read ‘Oxford looks to wisdom of the “crowd” for ways to reduce maternal deaths worldwide’. Intrigued by this, and from the fact that I still feel a certain loyalty to the British crowd, I made my way to the press room. Unfortunately, due to what I believe to be a miscommunication in the time or room slot, I was the only one there. Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Annabel Charnock and Hannah Knight kindly explained to me the basis of their online project–The Global Voices for Maternal Health.

The project, which officially launched yesterday, aims to survey healthcare providers from around the world (anyone providing medical care for women during pregnancy and childbirth in developing countries) about their “local maternity healthcare services and the extent to which evidence-based interventions are being adopted”. The project also offers a crowd-sourcing discussion forum which allows this demographic to put forward ideas and suggestions to improve maternal health via sharing knowledge in order to save lives. The premise is that the best ideas will be chosen by the crowd, with prizes awarded in order to encourage participation.

Photo via the United Nations

When asked what countries will be targeted in this online initiative, Annabel named Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia among many others. Global Voices is working with health infrastructures within these countries in order to garner as many participants as possible and, when the results from the crowd-sourcing are released after October 10 2010, to push forward with the new initiatives.

One of the resounding warnings within this conference has been that the spread of information is not enough to reach the MDG goal of a 3/4 reduction of maternal deaths. Global Voices is adding a well needed strike of action to that notion and acts as a role model of which many governments should aspire.

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