New report on latest maternal mortality trends

Wednesday, 25 Nov 2015
Earlier this month, a new report was launched by the United Nations agencies on the latest maternal mortality trends from 1990 - 2015.

The report provides updated data based on a revised methodology and gives more accurate estimates on maternal mortality.

It shows that globally, the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) fell by nearly 44% over the past 25 years. From 385 in 1990, MMR has fallen to an estimated 216 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 2015. Developing regions account for approximately 99% of the global maternal deaths in 2015, with sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for roughly 66%, followed by Southern Asia (approximately 22%).

Options’ MamaYe programme works across six African countries to reduce maternal mortality. In Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi, we package evidence and data to hold providers to account and strengthen advocacy and campaigning from national to district levels. An analysis of the report including key findings for each of the priority countries can be found on its website.

According to the report, Sierra Leone has the highest MMR globally, with an estimated 1,360 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Options recently supported the government of Sierra Leone’s efforts in its commitment to maternal health in which it hosted a national conference on “Improving and Sustaining Status of Emergency Obstetrics and Neonatal Care Facilities (EmONC) in Sierra Leone” on 12 November.

The purpose of the conference was to highlight the state of facilities to provide EmONC, as assessed by Facility Improvement Teams (FIT).

Evidence presented from the most recent FIT assessment found that none of the government hospitals and clinics across the country met the necessary requirements. The government and its partners explored different approaches to improve this situation and agreed to invest during this post-Ebola recovery period. 

The conference created an opportunity to galvanise efforts of local councils, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, other relevant Ministries and health partners to support safe clinics in order to reduce maternal deaths in the country. Read more about it here.

The MMR refers to the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births in the same time period. The estimates are important for measuring progress on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 target 5A: to reduce the MMR by at least 75% between 1990 and 2015.  The estimates are now important for tracking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.1: to reduce the global MMR to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

The report is the eighth in a series of analyses by the United Nations agencies, led by The Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG), which comprises of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank Group, and the United Nations Population Division (UNPD), together with a team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, National University of Singapore and University of California at Berkeley.

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