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Educational Information

Preparing for Life is a Non-Governmenal Organization and Dutch initiative. It is driven by patient/parent organizations (VSOP/EGAN/IGA, service clubs and scientific/academic groups and institutions. The initiative was based on a report of the Health Council of The Netherlands, “Preconception Care: a good beginning” (2007)  and on a report of an expert steering committee instituted by the Dutch Government, “Safe care around Pregnancy and Birth”  (2010). 
The initiative intends to change the tragic situation around maternal and child mortality and morbidity, by initiating a worldwide program to promote international awareness and the development of (better accessible) programs for preconception care for all women of childbearing ages and their partners, particularly in middle and low-income countries.


PfL is committed to reducing the global burden of maternal and child mortality and morbidity (4th and 5th millennium development goal of the United Nations) by preconception care as part of the continuum of maternal, newborn and child health aiming at expectation of healthy longevity. Therefore, the mission of the initiative is to introduce preconception care as additional link in the continuum of care model with the preliminary goal to have Preparing for Life programs integrated in national primary healthcare systems in 192 countries by the end of 2015.


The ultimate objective is to establish a global network on preconception care to tackle the burden of maternal and child mortality and morbidity, thereby contributing to the achievement of the 4th and 5th Millennium Development Goal, by:

  • raising awareness of preventable risks to the health of future parents and children, that need to be addressed before pregnancy;
  • bringing relevant international stakeholders together;
  • contributing to global awareness and prevention programs to reduce common known risks of adverse health effects for the parents to be, the fetus or neonate;
  • supporting countries/governments in identifying the options for preconception care and implementing structural programs;
  • bringing together the human and financial resources necessary for the implementation of Preparing for Life activities.

The "Current" Continuum of Care

The "Current" Continuum of Care

Continuum of Care Model - With missing link "Preconception Care"

Continuum of Care Model - With missing link "Preconception Care"

The main goals we contribute to:

The main goals we contribute to:The main goals we contribute to:


Support Goals through which we can achieve our mission:

Support Goals through which we can achieve our mission:Support Goals through which we can achieve our mission:

As you may know, the Millennium Development Goals were the eight international development goals for the year 2015 that had been established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. The United Nations has since the yer 2015 been able to release facts about the MDG's (see below) and has also initiated 17 new goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). Preparing for Life strives to keep up to date on these important events, and therefor we will provide a short summary of the results of the MDG's and introduce some of the SDG's that are most compatible with our organization.

Results for Millennium Development Goal #4: Reduce Child Mortality  

Results for Millennium Development Goal #4: Reduce Child Mortality:

  • The global under-five mortality rate has declined by more than half, dropping from 90 to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2015.
  • Despite population growth in the developing regions, the number of deaths of children under five has declined from 12.7 million in 1990 to almost 6 million in 2015 globally.
  • Since the early 1990s, the rate of reduction of under-five mortality has more than tripled globally.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, the annual rate of reduction of under-five mortality was over five times faster during 2005–2013 than it was during 1990–1995.
  • Measles vaccination helped prevent nearly 15.6 million deaths between 2000 and 2013. The number of globally reported measles cases declined by 67 per cent for the same period.
  • About 84 per cent of children worldwide received at least one dose of measles-containing vaccine in 2013, up from 73 per cent in 2000. 
Results for Millennium Development Goal #4: Reduce Child Mortality  

Results for Millennium Development Goal #5: Improve Maternal Health:

  • Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 45 per cent worldwide, and most of the reduction has occurred since 2000.
  • In Southern Asia, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 64 per cent between 1990 and 2013, and in sub-Saharan Africa it fell by 49 per cent.
  • More than 71 per cent of births were assisted by skilled health personnel globally in 2014, an increase from 59 per cent in 1990.
  • In Northern Africa, the proportion of pregnant women who received four or more antenatal visits increased from 50 per cent to 89 percent between 1990 and 2014.
  • Contraceptive prevalence among women aged 15 to 49, married or in a union, increased from 55 per cent in 1990 worldwide to 64 per cent in 2015.
Results for Millennium Development Goal #4: Reduce Child Mortality  

Results for Millennium Development Goal #1: Eradicate Extreme poverty and Hunger:

  • Extreme poverty has declined significantly over the last two decades. In 1990, nearly half of the population in the developing world lived on less than $1.25 a day; that proportion dropped to 14 per cent in 2015.
  • Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half, falling from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015. Most progress has occurred since 2000.
  • The number of people in the working middle class—living on more than $4 a day—has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015. This group now makes up half the workforce in the developing regions, up from just 18 per cent in 1991.
  • The proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions has fallen by almost half since 1990, from 23.3 per cent in 1990–1992 to 12.9 per cent in 2014–2016
Results for Millennium Development Goal #4: Reduce Child Mortality  

Results for Millennium Development Goal #6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other Diseases

  • New HIV infections fell by approximately 40 per cent between 2000 and 2013, from an estimated 3.5 million cases to 2.1 million.
  • By June 2014, 13.6 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally, an immense increase from just 800,000 in 2003. ART averted 7.6 million deaths from AIDS between 1995 and 2013.
  • Over 6.2 million malaria deaths have been averted between 2000 and 2015, primarily of children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. The global malaria incidence rate has fallen by an estimated 37 per cent and the mortality rate by 58 per cent.
  • More than 900 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets were delivered to malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2014.
  • Between 2000 and 2013, tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions saved an estimated 37 million lives. The tuberculosis mortality rate fell by 45 per cent and the prevalence rate by 41 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

All results stated above are provided by the United Nations. To read the full report on the Milennium Development goals, follow this link.

Sustainable Development Goals

On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

Strategic Aims

The following aims are central to the PfL initiative:

  • To promote international awareness and the development of programmes for preconception care.
  • To shift the paradigm for effective maternal and child health programmes from a focus on pre- and postnatal care to a paradigm that acknowledges that the avoidance of mortality and morbidity and the promotion of health for pregnant women and their children starts in the preconception period. It requires that risk factors which influence the health of the mother and baby-to-be, in pregnancy, infancy and childhood are addressed before the baby is conceived.
  • Preconception care must be integrated into the traditional prenatal, perinatal, neonatal and child health services continuum of care. This should be achieved by implementing preconception care into existing programmes and services, particularly in primary health care.


To achieve the agreed goals, PfL strives to work catalytic; identifying the responsible persons, institutions and organizations and to motivate, support and facilitate them to deliver the needed actions and/or services. Five pillars (nutrition, medicine, lifestyle, genetics, environment) are defined as important aspects of the global introduction and implementation of preconception care. PfL works in close collaboration with the WHO and other international bodies.