In 2000, 189 countries met together and made a promise to free the people of the world from extreme poverty and deprivation. The aim was that this would be achieved by 2015. This commitment was formalised in the publication of the United Nations Millennium Declaration which commit world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, discrimination against women and environmental degradation.
In order to achieve the overall aim, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were put in place providing a framework for actions to be taken and against which progress would be measured. These are to:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
The MDGs are inter-dependent; all the MDG influence health, and health influences all the MDGs. For example, better health enables children to learn and adults to earn. Gender equality is essential to the achievement of better health. Reducing poverty, hunger and environmental degradation positively influences, but also depends on, better health.
The MDGs and Maternal Health
Maternity Worldwide works to achieve MDG 5: Improve maternal health
The international community recognised that in 2000 the number of deaths in pregnancy and childbirth, particularly in developing countries, was unacceptably high. A specific goal, MDG 5, was put in place comprising two sub goals:
MDG 5: Improve maternal health
Target 5a: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
Target 5b: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
Underpinning this are six targets against which progress towards the goals can be measured:
5.1 Maternal mortality ratio (this is the number of women & girls who die per 100,000 live births)
5.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel
5.3 Contraceptive prevalence rate
5.4 Adolescent birth rate
5.5 Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits)
5.6 Unmet need for family planning
Maternity Worldwide and the MDGs
In terms of our own work, Maternity Worldwide’s main focus is on saving the lives of women and girls in pregnancy and childbirth. But we know that to do that requires an integrated approach enabling and empowering women within their communities as well as providing high quality and accessible maternal health services. Saving a mother’s life benefits the whole community. It contributes to the achievement not only of MDG 5 but also of MDGs 3, 4 and 6 and, more indirectly, of MDGs 1 and 2.
Our integrated maternal health approach recognises the wide variety of different factors which can contribute to preventing women and girls from accessing the maternal health care they need. That is why our projects start by assessing the different situations in the community we will be working with and then and then addressing each of the factors which will help enable women to give birth safely.
You can find more information about:
on other parts of our website.
Progress towards meeting MDG 5
You can find information on the progress the world is making towards meeting MDG 5 on this separate page of our website.