6 Improve maternal health

Where we are

Given the sensitivity of maternal mortality rates in the subregion, it may be difficult to realize progress. This sensitivity is a reflection of small population sizes which lead to significant swings in maternal mortality rates. Staffing issues resulting from emigration of health personnel are also an impediment to achieving this target.

The proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel has been indicated at no less than 90% for those countries reporting.

The target of universal access to reproductive health may be difficult to achieve unless policy and legal reform is undertaken to ensure comprehensive access to reproductive health for vulnerable populations, including adolescents.

Source: Caribbean Millennium Development Goals Report 2010

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