Appraisal of WHO guidelines in maternal health using the AGREE II assessment tool

PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e38891. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038891. Epub 2012 Aug 13.


In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) received a criticism for a lack of transparency and systematic methods in the development of guidelines, which were at that time perceived as substantially driven by expert opinion. In this paper we assessed the quality of maternal and perinatal health guidelines developed since then. We used the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II tool to evaluate the quality of methodological rigour and transparency of four different WHO guidelines published between 2007 and 2011. Our findings showed high scores among the most recent guidelines on maternal and perinatal health suggesting higher quality. However, there is still potential for improvement, especially in including different stakeholder views, transparency of guidelines regarding the role of the funding body and presentation of the guideline document.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Maternal Welfare* / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Quality Control
  • World Health Organization*

Grants and funding

The authors have no support or funding to report.