Originally appearing on USAID's Impact Blog during their focus on global health throughout the month of May and featuring the important role of mothers and partnerships May 11-17, this post by Ruwaida Salem and Stephen Goldstein highlights the importance of family planniing in reducing maternal mortality and the innovative partnerships that maximize USAID's investment to achieve greater impact.
With memories of Mother’s Day in the U.S. this past weekend still fresh in the mind—family gatherings, celebrations, festive meals, presents, flowers, and more—attention turns to the estimated 287,000 maternal deaths that occur each year, mostly in developing countries.
A mother and child attend a family planning counseling session in Chaibasa, India.
© 2012 Jennifer Applegate, Courtesy of Photoshare
During this week, USAID is focusing on mothers and on how maternal health is critical to achieving its global health goals. Partnerships between the private sector and NGOs, foundations, associations, and others have allowed USAID to maximize its health impact around the world.
The death of a mother profoundly affects the health and well-being of her children. When a mother dies, her children are less likely to survive. If a mother dies in childbirth, her child is 10 times more likely to die before reaching age one.
While maternal mortality remains unacceptably high throughout the developing world, a number of USAID-assisted countries have achieved significant reductions in maternal deaths from pregnancy-related causes. For example, several countries have already achieved Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 (PDF)—reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015—including the following countries in which USAID works:
- Romania (achieved an 84% reduction, from 170 to 27 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth)
- Equitorial Guinea (81% reduction, from 1,200 to 240 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births)
- Nepal (78% reduction, from 770 to 170 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births)
- Vietnam (76% reduction, from 240 to 59 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births)
Several countries are also on track to achieving MDG 5, including Bangladesh (with a 5.9% average annual decline in maternal mortality) and Egypt (6% annual decline).
Nevertheless, even with the global decline of maternal mortality by 47% since 1990, the level is far short of the 2015 target and developing regions still have maternal mortality rates 15 times higher than developed regions.