- Q: How can improved maternal health reduce poverty?
- A: Investing in better maternal health not only improves a mother’s health and that of her family, but also increases the number of women in the workforce and promotes the economic well-being of communities and countries. Untreated pregnancy and birth complications mean that 10-20 million women become disabled every year, undermining their ability to support their families.
World Bank: We Need to Do More to Help Women
Of all the MDGs, the least progress has been made on the maternal health goal —worldwide, the maternal mortality ratio declined at less than 1% from 1990 to 2005. Better women’s health is therefore a priority for the World Bank. Bank projects allow women wider access to effective and functioning health systems, with skilled and motivated health workers. Bank investments also support infrastructure and innovations in financing to improve maternal health. Through such investments, the Bank continues to support family planning programs, nutrition initiatives, facility-based deliveries, disease prevention, and new and innovative methods to provide more help to mothers.
- We promote the health of women by:
- educating girls and boys
- reducing teenage pregnancies
- empowering women to space births and choose family size
- improving maternal nutrition
- ensuring trained attendance at deliveries and better access to emergency and comprehensive obstetric, ante-natal and post-partum care
Making Strides in Maternal Health
As a result of support for the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, from 2000 to 2010, more than 47 million people gained access to essential health, nutrition, or maternal and child services.
Our Maternal Heath Strategy
- Develop more effective and efficient national health systems
- Motivate young people to delay pregnancy and achieve higher levels of education
- Support increased use of reproductive health services, focusing on assisted deliveries and family planning
- Tie financing to performance in maternal health programs
- Protect poor women from ill health and unaffordable costs and treatment
Some of Our MDG 5 Results
From 2000 to 2010, IDA enabled more than 2.5 million pregnant women worldwide to receive antenatal care. Countries have also reported impressive results:
- Malawi: Contraceptive use doubled in project areas, from 20% in 1999 to 36% by 2004.
- Uzbekistan: 86% of women received antenatal care in 2008, compared to 79% in 2004.
- Afghanistan: Deliveries by trained health workers
in-facility jumped to 23% in 2008, from 6% in 2003.
How’s the World Doing?
- 13% of countries (23 out of 181) are on track to reduce maternal mortality to 3/4 of its 1990 level.
- 35% decrease in maternal deaths from 1980 to 2008.
- 18% increase from 1990 to 2008 in the proportion of pregnant women who had at least one antenatal visit.
- 1 in 10 maternal deaths are still due to unsafe abortions.