6 Improve maternal health

Tracking Progress

To achieve this goal, Zambia needs to significantly reduce the number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy, child birth and the postpartum period over the coming four years. Maternal mortality decreased from 649 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1996 to 591 in 2007. The target is 162 in 2015, which means a further reduction of 429 deaths per 100,000 has to be achieved by 2015. The known success factors are the presence of trained midwives at births, and rural feeder roads and transport that get pregnant women to health clinics on time. The necessary investment in terms of training, oversight and incentives for midwives should be provided in conjunction with improved access to and monitoring of rural health posts, and curbing unsafe home-based birthing practices.

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