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Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in General News

U.N. Says Maternal Mortality Rate Has Nearly Halved since 1990

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UNITED NATIONS, Mar 10 2015 (IPS) – The global rate of maternal deaths is reducing faster than any time in history, according to a new report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.

The ‘Every Woman Every Child’ initiative has saved 2.4 million women and children since its inception in 2010,claims the report Saving Lives, Protecting Futurespresented by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The report states maternal mortality has been nearly halved since 1990, and in 2013, 6.4 million fewer children under age five died compared to 1990. Every Woman Every Child states 11 million more women have given birth in a health facility, 8.4 million more women and girls use modern contraception, and post-natal care for women increased 25 percent.

Our task now is to maintain and build on that momentum, complete the unfinished health MDGs, end the appalling tragedy of preventable deaths and invest in the futures of women, children and adolescents,” Ban wrote in the report’s foreword.

“Yet we can and must do much more to provide access to the health care that women need… we must work to ensure that children are born into a safe environment where they will receive necessary vaccines, nutrition and care. There is still too much needless suffering.”

More than two-thirds of the $60billion pledged to the initiative by partner countries and institutions has been distributed and used. Speaking at the launch of the report, Ban said signs of progress were encouraging.

“More women are giving birth in a health facility, more women and girls are receiving the sexual and reproductive health services they want and need, and more pregnant women are receiving anti-retrovirals to prevent HIV transmission to their babies,” he said.

“Our task now is to maintain and build on that momentum, complete the unfinished health MDGs, end the appalling tragedy of preventable deaths and invest in the futures of women, children and adolescents.

Every Woman Every Child describes itself as an “unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies global action to improve the health of women and children around the world.” The programme began in response to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four and five, concerning maternal health and child mortality, which were seen as the MDGs “were lagging furthest behind.”

The report urges partner to keep reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health “high on the global agenda in the post-2015 era.” The initiative has set its goal as reducing the global maternal mortality rate to 70 in 100,000 births, and newborn mortality rates to 12 per 1000 births.

Follow Josh Butler on Twitter @JoshButler

Edited by Roger Hamilton-Martin