Translating coverage gains into health gains for all women and children: The quality care opportunity

The proportion of women and children receiving health care in the poorest countries is increasing. Unfortunately, markers of improved health outcomes, such as falling maternal or newborn mortality, have not matched expectations from the gains in the coverage of care. Robust evidence exists for one explanatory factor: the poor–rich gaps in coverage found along the continuum of care for women and children, and particularly for the crucial period around childbirth. The more-neglected explanation for the mismatch between coverage and health outcomes is the quality of the care provided to women and children, which is the focus of Year 1 of the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)-PLOS Collection on Maternal Health (​ealth_year1) and our short commentary.