Since 2008, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund and The World Bank have stepped up efforts to save the lives of mothers and their newborn babies.
Our goal is to meet Millennium Development Goal 5 (reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters) and MDG 4 (reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds) by the MDGs' 2015 target date.
The health of mothers and that of newborns are, of course, intimately related. Forty per cent of all under-five deaths occur in first 28 days of life.
We are working with national and local governments, donors and civil society to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every child has the opportunity to survive and achieve his or her full potential.
We aim to see that every woman receives advice about reproductive health.
We are promoting education for women and girls. Education is the most effective way to address the underlying determinants of maternal mortality, including gender discrimination, the low status of women, poverty, child marriage and female genital mutilation.
We support programmes to address the urgent need for skilled midwives, nurses and doctors. In developing countries only 57 per cent of women have a skilled attendant at childbirth. Four million health-care workers are needed to make up the global shortfall.