6 Improve maternal health

Where do we stand?

Maternal mortality has declined by nearly half since 1990, but falls far short of the MDG target.

The targets for improving maternal health include reducing by three-fourths the maternal mortality ratio and achieve universal access to reproductive health. Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates. Inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health.

Maternal mortality ratio, 1990 and 2010 (Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, women aged 15-49).
Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013

Bar Chart
  • In Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia, maternal mortality has declined by around two thirds.
  • Only half of pregnant women in developing regions receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits.
  • Some 140 million women worldwide who are married or in union say they would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using contraception.

Read more in The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013

UNDP's work around the globe

  • UNDP in India

    Indian hospital chain to fight maternal mortality
    UNDP in India

    LifeSpring Hospitals to provide 82,000 women with affordable healthcare through Business Call to Action initiative Hyderabad, India ― The Business Call to Action (BCtA) today announced that LifeSpring more

  • UNDP in Eritrea

    Reducing maternal death in Eritrea
    UNDP in Eritrea

    In the market town of Senafe, in southern Eritrea, Fethawi Berhane has just undergone three days of painful labor and complications during childbirth that resulted in more

1.69 years
remaining
until 2015

1990 2015
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