Maternal vaccination is considered a key component of the antenatal care package for improving maternal and child health. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) fall short of global targets to prevent maternal and neonatal deaths, with a disproportionate burden of vaccine-preventable diseases. Strategies towards ending preventable maternal mortality necessitate a health systems approach to adequately respond to this burden. This review explores the health systems determinants of delivery and uptake of essential maternal vaccines in LMICs. We conducted a qualitative systematic review of articles on maternal vaccination in LMICs, published between 2009 and 2023 in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify key themes in the literature, interpreted within a conceptual framing that explores the systems determinants influencing maternal vaccines. Our search yielded 1309 records, of which 54 were included, covering 34 LMICs. Most of the included studies were from South America (28/54) and included pregnant women as the primary study population (34/54). The studies explored influenza (25/54) and tetanus toxoid (20/54) vaccines predominantly. The findings suggest that systems hardware (lack of clear policy guidelines, ineffective cold-chain management, limited reporting and monitoring systems) are barriers to vaccine delivery. Systems software (healthcare provider recommendations, increased trust, higher levels of maternal education) are enablers to maternal vaccine uptake. Findings show that formulation, dissemination and communication of context-specific policies and guidelines on maternal vaccines should be a priority for decision-makers in LMICs.

  • All age groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Healthcare workers
  • Coverage
  • Logistics
  • Low and Middle Income Countries