Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 set aggressive targets for improving the lives of mothers and children by 2015. Now that financial concerns are pressing, innovation offers a way to do more with the money that is available. As a result, there is increasing collaboration among policy-makers, donors, multilateral organizations, civil society organizations, health-care professionals, the private sector, and academic and research institutions. All are working together to develop and introduce innovative policies, products, and processes to help achieve the ambitious targets set by the MDGs.
The papers in this collection give a concise outline of potential innovations that are improving the health of mothers and children, and show how a broad scope of further innovation can achieve better and more effective services. They show, for example, how we can improve health literacy, develop and use new technologies such as mHealth, and innovate in the delivery of services through an array of public-private partnerships.
These innovations are a small sample of those that are known internationally. Many other creative ideas are being
introduced in local areas – and these also present enormous opportunities if they can be categorized, tested and shared with the international community. Some of the innovations discussed in the working papers are potential “game-changers” that could fundamentally alter the way countries act to improve women’s and children’s health, and how those women and children access the support they need. Promoting and accelerating game-changing innovations, such as the examples that follow, will be critical to meeting the MDG targets.