In recent decades, the world has made significant progress reducing newborn and maternal deaths. Between 1990 and 2017, the newborn mortality rate was almost halved – from 37 to 18 deaths per 1,000 live births. From 1990 to 2015, the global maternal mortality rate fell by nearly 44 per cent.
But newborns and mothers – including adolescent mothers – are still dying in unacceptably large numbers – mostly from preventable or treatable causes, such as infectious diseases and complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
Uneven access to affordable, high-quality health care and services impedes many countries from improving maternal and newborn survival and reducing stillbirths. A significant proportion of maternal and newborn deaths occurs in settings of conflict or displacement.