From 1990 to 2013, the number of maternal deaths worldwide dropped from more than 540,000 to 289,000 – a decline of 45%. While substantial progress has been achieved in almost all regions, many countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, failed to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 target of reducing maternal mortality by 75% from 1990 to 2015.

One-third of all maternal deaths occur in two countries – in 2013, almost 17% of deaths (50,000) were in India, and 14% (40,000) were in Nigeria. Of the 40 countries with the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality, 36 are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Many low-income countries continue to be burdened by high rates of maternal mortality and high fertility, which are closely linked to high infant mortality and gender inequality. More than 1/4 of girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa cannot access family planning services, fueling unplanned pregnancies and spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which will go into effect at the end of 2015, the global health community will work to achieve three targets specific to reproductive, maternal and child health:

3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.

Work toward achieving these targets will be conducted in tandem with helping countries achieve universal health coverage, under SDG target 3.8:

3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.


Last Updated: Sep 08, 2015

Ensuring access to quality reproductive health and family planning services is fundamental to human development results and is a top priority for the Bank’s health, nutrition and population global practice.

In July 2015, the United Nations, the World Bank Group, governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States, and country and global health leaders launched the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child. The GFF is a key financing platform of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. It is a country-driven financing partnership that brings stakeholders together, under national government leadership and ownership, to provide smart, scaled and sustainable financing to accelerate efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths by 2030.

The GFF is an essential part of a paradigm shift in development financing, emphasizing the essential but changing role of official development assistance in unlocking domestic resources and private flows and focusing on results.  It has the potential to act as a pathfinder for financing the SDGs in the post-2015 era.


Last Updated: Sep 08, 2015

During the past decade from 2003 to 2013, IDA the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries has:

  • provided more than 117 million people with access to basic packages of health, nutrition, or reproductive health services;
  • trained more than 2.6 million health personnel
  • constructed, renovated, and/or equipped more than 10,000 health facilities;
  • immunized nearly 600 million children;
  • provided more than 194 million pregnant women with antenatal care during a visit to a health care provider;
  • ensured that more than 29 million births were attended by skilled health personnel;
  • ensured that more than 210 million pregnant/lactating women, adolescent girls, and/or children under age five were reached by basic nutrition services;
  • purchased and/or distributed more than 149 million long-lasting, insecticide-treated malaria bed nets;
  • purchased and/or distributed more than 386 million condoms;
  • provided more than 7.6 million people with tuberculosis treatment according to WHO DOTS recommendations;
  • ensured that more than 1.3 million adults and children received antiretroviral combination therapy.

Countries have also reported remarkable results:

  • Afghanistan reported a 22% reduction in infant mortality and 26% reduction in child mortality in three years.
  • Benin: 2 million medicated bed nets benefited pregnant women and children under age five from 2007-2011.
  • Georgia reported a 29% increase in health insurance coverage for poor women of reproductive age and a 59% increase in coverage for children under age five.
  • Ghana: Improved maternal and child health care reduced mortality rates for children under five to 80 per 1,000 live births in 2008, from 111 in 2003.
  • Lesotho: Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission rose from 5% in 2005 to 31% in 2009. The country reported a 10% increase in contraceptive prevalence rate from 2004-2009.
  • Burkina Faso: Contraceptive prevalence has more than doubled, from 15% to 33%, and assisted deliveries have increased from 67% to 82% between 2010 and 2013.




Last Updated: Sep 08, 2015