221.627.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 2nd Term | 4 Credit(s)
MW 3:30:00 PM
  • Course Description

    This course on “Issues in the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality in low-income countries” is designed so that students will understand the clinical and social causes of high maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. In addition, students will be exposed to the clinical, program and policy interventions that address these issues, and will evaluate the strength of the evidence supporting these interventions. The course also offers students practical exercises in understanding the scope and epidemiology of both problems, and designing and assessing programmatic responses to address them. Upon completion of this course, students should have the knowledge base to be able to contribute to the program and policy responses needed to avert maternal and newborn deaths in different contexts.   

    The course meets two times per week from 3:30-5:20 pm in W 4030 with a ten minute break from 4:30 – 4:40. The course relies on lectures, participation in the class, 2 lab exercises, 1 reflection (a short essay) and one group project / paper. There are 18 Sessions: 13 lectures, two classes for group presentations on the final project, one optional movie day before Thanksgiving and one optional class on maternal causes of death for non-clinicians.

  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • list causes of maternal and neonatal deaths (from a biological/clinical, social and health systems perspective)
    • list the key elements of antenatal care, essential obstetric care, essential newborn care, and postpartum care
    • list and assess different types of interventions and approaches aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality within specific contexts
    • address issues of monitoring and evaluation of interventions aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality
    • discuss mechanisms to influence policy
  • Contact Information
    Linda Bartlett
    Luke Mullany
    Pooja Sripad
  • Intended Audience

    Masters and doctoral students

  • Methods of Assessment

    Student evaluation based on class participation, homework assignments and presentation of a designed intervention.

    Additional Faculty Notes:



    Date of distribution

    Date due

    Percent of final grade

    Lab 1 Neonatal Mortality




    Lab 2 Maternal Mortality




    Maternal Mortality or Neonatal Reflection

    11/07 OR 11/21, depending on which is selected by the student to complete.

    11/18 OR  12/2


    Group project outline




    Group project presentation


    12/16 or 12/18


    Group project paper



    Class participation




    Lab Exercises (10%):

    There will be two lab exercises, each worth 10% of the final grade. These exercises involve simple analyses of basic data to calculate and interpret the key maternal and newborn mortality indicators.  Time will be allowed in class for introduction of quantitative portion.


    Maternal Mortality Reflection or Neonatal Mortality Reflection (25%):

    Students will choose to write either a maternal mortality reflection piece or a neonatal mortality reflection piece.  A reflection piece is a short essay. It should be 2-3 pages in length and will include the student’s 1) interpretation of key indicators, 2) design and description of appropriate program and policy response based on the data, 3) strengths and weaknesses of their strategy, 4) and justification of their proposal citing appropriately from the assigned readings and other literature.    


    Group project (35%) and group outline (10%):

    Details to be announced.

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    There is no mandatory textbook required. However, for those interested, the book " Maternal and perinatal health in developing countries; edited by Julia Hussein, Affette McCaw-Binns, and Roger Webber, 2012; is available in eformat on the Welch library site at The book contains chapters relevant to almost all the lectures in this course.  

    Course materials for this class consist of:

    • Required and recommended readings; all of which will be available in PDF or Word document format in the CoursePlus website;
    • Lecture slides will be available on-line in the CoursePlus website.  All efforts will be made to assure that these are posted before class, though this cannot always be guaranteed.  Handouts will not be distributed in class. 
    • Lab exercises, reflections and associated materials will also be available on-line. 
  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Course topics








    MODULE A:  Maternal, Fetal and Newborn Mortality Epidemiology, Measurement & Mortality Prevention


    Oct 28


    Introduction to course;


    Stillbirth and neonatal mortality, cause of death, how burden is estimated


    Linda Bartlett


    Luke Mullany


    Students will be asked to volunteer (n=4) to share their international experiences for 10 minutes in Session 4. (Another opportunity for additional students to present same will be made if demand is sufficient.)

    Oct 30


    Evidence based interventions to prevent fetal and newborn mortality

    Luke Mullany

    Lab 1 on newborn mortality posted on courseplus
    (Due date Nov 7)

    Oct. 31


    Optional class for non-clinicians: Causes of maternal death

    Sheena Currie

       Time: 12:15-1:25, Room E9519

    Nov 4


    Epidemiology of maternal mortality in low-income countries: who, what, when, where, why?

    Linda Bartlett


    Nov 6


    Strategies and interventions to prevent maternal mortality

    Linda Bartlett

    Student experiences (n=4 x 10 minutes)

    Lab 1 Due: Nov 7th

    Newborn Mortality Reflection Posted

    (Due date Nov. 18)

    Nov 11



    Community-based neonatal care packages, impact on mortality, and challenges for scale-up.

    Luke Mullany


    Nov 13



    Neonatal indicator development and intervention coverage

    Allisyn Moran


    Lab 2 on maternal mortality posted on courseplus

    (Due date Nov. 20)



    MODULE B: Maternal and Neonatal Mortality: Cross cutting issues and field case studies

    Nov 18


    Nutritional interventions to improve maternal and newborn health and survival

    Parul Christian Linda Bartlett

    Newborn Mortality Reflection Due

    Group Outline Guidelines Posted

    (Due date Dec. 2nd)

    Nov 20


    Using information for action: How to design a public health program

    Jeffrey Smith

    Lab 2 on maternal mortality Due

    Maternal Mortality  Reflection Posted  

    (Due date Dec. 2nd)

    Nov 25


    Abortion-related maternal mortality: Medical and social/political causes.

    The impact of family planning

    Amy Tsui


    Nov 27

    Day before Thanksgiving)


    Optional class: Movies and discussion

    Linda Bartlett

    Luke Mullany


    Dec 2


    Post-Partum Hemorrhage: Research, Prevention and Management: Lessons from the Field.

    Cindy Stanton

    Maternal Mortality Reflection Due


    Dec. 4   



    Maternal and newborn health response in conflict settings

    Linda Bartlett

    Luke Mullany


    Group project Outlines Due

    Dec 9


    Health Care Financing for Maternal/Neonatal Health

    Laurel Hatt

    Marianne El-Khoury 


    Dec 11


     Measuring maternal mortality, and verbal autopsy 

    Saifuddin Ahmed





    MODULE C: Group project presentations

    Dec 16




    Linda Bartlett


    Dec 18



    Linda Bartlett

    Luke Mullany


    Final group paper is due on 20th December




  • Disability Support Services
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