Millennium Development Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from the highest MMR at 920 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, followed by South Asia, with an MMR of 500. This compares with an MMR of 8 in industrialized countries.
The countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios are Sierra Leone (with 2,100 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births), Niger (1,800), Afghanistan (1,800), Chad (1,500), Somalia (1,400), Angola (1,400), Rwanda (1,300), and Liberia (1,200).
At the present rate of progress, the world will fall well short of the target for maternal mortality reduction. To reach the target, the global MMR would have had to be reduced by an average 5.5 per cent a year between 1990 and 2015. The current average rate of reduction is less than 1 per cent a year. The estimated 0.1 per cent annual rate of reduction in sub-Saharan Africa, where levels of mortality are highest, is slower than in any other region.
Source: UNICEF, Progress for Children: A Report Card on Maternal Mortality, 2008