White Ribbon Alliance

Stillbirth Campaign


New research published in The Lancet Ending Preventable Stillbirths Series demonstrates that despite significant reductions in the number of maternal and child deaths, there has been little change in the number of stillbirths. Across the world, there are more than 2.6 million stillbirths every year, half of which occur during labour and birth. Yet with quality care, most could be prevented.


We therefore call on the international community, governments and communities to take action to prevent stillbirths through:

INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP: Maximise existing leadership; ensure global organisations include stillbirths when acting for women and children, intentionally involving parents and nurturing champions

INCREASED VOICE, especially among women: Empower women to demand quality of life and health care, and support those affected by stillbirth to raise their voices for change; develop culturally appropriate protocols for respectful care after death; reduce stigma

IMPLEMENTATION of integrated interventions with commensurate investment: Ensure high-quality care for every woman during pregnancy, labour and birth, and after stillbirth; focus on the highest impact interventions, especially intrapartum care in the highest burden settings; address health system bottlenecks, especially the need for skilled health workers, particularly midwives; increase funding and innovation commensurate with the scale of 2·6 million deaths a year; promote these actions within global, regional and national processes in support of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health

INDICATORS TO MEASURE IMPACT & monitor progress: Count every pregnancy and every baby, including stillbirths, particularly by improving Civil and Vital Registration Systems; integrate stillbirth-specific components within relevant plans for data improvement, especially to track programmatic coverage and quality, including stillbirth prevention and post-stillbirth support; complete and use perinatal audit tools and a global classification system

INVESTIGATION of crucial knowledge gaps: Address gaps in knowledge by setting research priorities regarding stillbirth prevention and bereavement support, including discovery, translational, and implementation science to drive innovation; develop research capacity

Specifically, governments must meet the following targets and milestones:


  • National stillbirth rate: every country should achieve a rate of 12 stillbirths or fewer per 1000 total births (resulting in a global average of nine stillbirths per 1000 total births) by 2030;
  • Equity stillbirth rate: every country, particularly those where stillbirth rates are already less than 12 per 1000, should set and met a national target to reduce equity gaps in stillbirth rates by 2030;
  • Family planning: by 2020, 120 million more women and girls with access to contraceptives; by 2030, universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes
    Antenatal care: by 2030, universal quality of care and comprehensive antenatal care for all women in all countries;
  • Care during labour and birth: by 2030, effective and respectful intrapartum care to all women in all countries.

  • Every Newborn global and national milestones met by 2020, including the Measurement Improvement Roadmap;
  • Respectful care, including bereavement support after a death: by 2020, global consensus on a package of care after a death in pregnancy or childbirth for the affected family, community, and caregivers in all settings;
  • Reduce stigma: by 2020, all countries to identify mechanisms to reduce stigma associated with stillbirth among all stakeholders, particularly health workers and communities.

    Learn more about the global movement to prevent stillbirths by watching the recent “Maintaining Momentum and Building on Strategies to Prevent Stillbirths” webinar. Organized by American Public Health Association, and featuring WRA’s CEO Betsy McCallon, the webinar reviews the progress that has been made on ending preventable stillbirth deaths, highlights strategies for faster progress and discusses ways to provide better care to women and families following stillbirths.