Millennium Development Goal 5-Improving Maternal Health
The issue of maternal health cannot be viewed in isolation – the progress made on all the other aspects of women’s health, literacy and security underpins the issue of maternal mortality and progress on improving maternal health will continue to remain slow and retarded if we do not view the matter of women’s health more holistically. Globally, less than 50% of the countries (with high maternal mortality ratios) will be able to meet their MDG MMR targets by 2015. Plagued by unrelenting poverty and malnutrition, Africa continues to struggle in its endeavor to reduce MMR in the continent: nearly 16 African countries are estimated to have very high MMRs of 500 or more deaths per 100,000 live births and the sub-Saharan Africa region alone accounted for 62% of global deaths in 2012.
Globally, MMRs reduced by 45% from an estimated 546,000 deaths in 1990 to around 289,000 maternal deaths in 2013 with Eastern Asia recording the sharpest decline in MMR of almost 65%. Despite the overall success in MMR reduction, the developing world – where development and security challenges abound – continues to grapple with high rates of maternal mortality: a woman’s life time risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth in a developing country is 1:38 whereas it is exponentially lower in a developed country at 1:3700.