MDG Goal 5: Improve maternal health
The key interventions for improving maternal health include increasing access to skilled birth attendance, combined with prompt referral for cases with complications (including caesarean section free of charge); scaling up emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC); strengthening family planning including reducing pregnancy in adolescents; and empowering women, families, and communities to make timely decisions.  Coverage of these key interventions in order to achieve MDG5 is still low. In 2008, less than 50% of women received skilled care during childbirth. Eight countries had more than 80% of births attended by skilled health personnel between 2000 and 2009. The average caesarean section coverage in the Region is 3.6%, below the recommended figure of 5% - 15%. From 2000 to 2010, the regional average percentage of women who received antenatal care from skilled health personnel at least once was 74% and at least four times during pregnancy was 44%. There remains a continuing unmet need for family planning as 24.8% of women in the Region wanting to delay or stop childbearing were not using any family planning method. Eighteen countries are implementing the WHO Reproductive Health Strategy to accelerate progress towards the attainment of international development goals and targets related to reproductive health.
Progress on Target 5A:
The estimated maternal mortality ratio in the Region was 620 per 100 000 live births in 2008. Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea are on track to achieve this target; 33 countries are making progress although it is insufficient; and seven countries have made no progress (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) in 2008 and MDG target in the African Region
Progress on Target 5B:
Between 1990 and 2008, there was a 25% increase in access to contraceptives among currently married women. Contraceptive prevalence in countries ranged from 2.8% to 75.8% between 2000 and 2010, showing a little progress towards this target.
- ↑ Cleland J, et al. Family planning: the unfinished agenda. Lancet. 2006 Nov 18;368 (9549):1810–27.
- ↑ Conde-Agudelo Agustin and Jose M. Belizan, Maternal morbidity and mortality associated with inter-pregnancy interval: cross sectional study, BMJ, 2000; 321:1255–1259 (18 November) shows that there is a strong relationship between birth intervals and maternal mortality and morbidity.
- ↑ Count Down Report, 2008.
- ↑ World Health Statistics 2011, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, 2011.
- ↑ MDG Target 5A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR).
- ↑ Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008; Estimates developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and World Bank; WHO, 2010.
- ↑ Data source: Trends in Maternal mortality:1990 to 2008: Estimates developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, WHO, 2010 and WHO, World Health Statistics 2011, Geneva, World Health Organization 2011. Countries with MMR≥100 in 1990 are categorized as “on track or with sufficient progress” if there has been 5.5% decline or more annually; “medium progress” if MMR has declined between 2% and 5.5%; making “some progress” if MMR has declined by less than 2% annually; and having “no progress” if there has been no decline in MMR. Botswana and Mauritius with MMR<100 in 1990 are not categorized. No trend data available for Sao Tome and Principe and Seychelles.
- ↑ MDG Target 5B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.