Millennium Development Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
A review of recent evidence shows that while a number of middle-income countries have made progress in reducing maternal deaths, less progress has been achieved in low-income countries, particularly in sub- Saharan Africa. Across the developing world, maternal mortality levels remain too high, with more than 500,000 women dying every year as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. About half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and about one third occur in South Asia – the two regions together account for about 85 per cent of all maternal deaths.
In sub-Saharan Africa, a woman's lifetime risk of maternal death is a staggering 1 in 22, compared with 1 in 8,000 in industrialized countries.
Source: UNICEF, Progress for Children, A World Fit for Children Statistical Review, 2007, New York, December 2007