6 Improve maternal health

Where we are?

Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment will bring progress on MDG5 on maternal health. Photo: UNDP Maldives 2012.

Given that the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has been reduced from 500 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 69 per 100,000 live births in 2006, this target has also been achieved. However, continued progress on MDG5 will strongly influence efforts to further reduce child mortality (MDG4). Likewise, gender inequality is one of the social determinants at the heart of inequity in health, so progress in achieving MDG3 (promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment) also will bring progress on MDG5, as will improvements in the nutritional status of women (MDG Target 1C).

Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education