Millennium Development Goals

Goal 5

Improve Maternal Health by 2015

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 toward the maternal health goal. Every day, nearly 800 women across the globe die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth; 99 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries. 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 reproductive health and family planning programs, nutrition initiatives, facility-based deliveries, disease prevention, and new and innovative methods to provide more help to mothers.

Healthier mothers mean healthier children (Indonesia). Healthier mothers mean healthier children (Indonesia).
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 2003 to 2013 more than 117 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

Between 2003 and 2013, more than 117 million people in the poorest countries gained access to essential health services; 195 million pregnant women received antenatal care, and more than 30 million births were attended by skilled health personnel. Countries have also reported impressive results:

  • Burundi: 25 percent more women gave birth at health facilities in 2011 than in 2010; prenatal consultations rose by 20 percent during the same period.
  • Guinea: 95 percent of pregnant women in 2012 received prenatal care from a health care provider, up from 83 percent in 2011.
  • Lao PDR: 93,000 women received subsidies for prenatal care and hospital delivery, and 536,000 women received free or subsidized health exams between 1997 and 2006.

How’s the World Doing?

  • 800 women die every day due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth.
  • 47% decrease in maternal mortality since 1990.
  • 1/2 of women in developing regions receive recommended health care during pregnancy.
  • 15x higher maternal mortality ratio in developing regions, as compared to that of developed regions.

Blog

Mother and newborn

Perilous pregnancies: How to improve maternal health in Tanzania?

Efforts should focus on addressing a broader health systems strengthening approach.

Read More »

Results Profile

An Afghan woman seeking medical help.

Afghanistan: Better Health Outcomes For Women, Children, and the Poor

In a decade of tremendous progress, maternal mortality drops from 1,600 per 100,000 births in 2000 to 327 in 2010.

Read More »

Commitment

World Bank’s Commitment to Maternal Health

  • FY09: World Bank mobilized more than $3 billion in health financing
  • FY10: World Bank committed $4.1 billion in support of stronger health systems, disease prevention, and improving child and maternal health.

contacts

More Contacts »