Throughout your reading on the subject of maternal health, it’s likely that you will come across the acronym MDG. This post is an aide-mémoire to explain what MDG means, how it relates to maternal health, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit (Sept 2015) which is the next phase of the initiative.
To quote directly from the UN Millenium Project:
At the Millennium Summit in September 2000 the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015, that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security. (https://www.unmillenniumproject.org/goals/)
8 goals were defined:
- Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
- Reduce Child Mortality
- Improve Maternal Health
- Combat HIV / AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental Sustainability
- Develop a global Partnership for Development.
Goal 5 is the one that interests us: Improve Maternal Health.
So what does that really mean:
Again, to quote the UN Millennium Project, the target was as follows:
Reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
The indicators used:
Maternal mortality ratio (UNICEF-WHO)
Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel (UNICEF-WHO)
This is 2015. What happened?
There is general recognition that the MDG initiative has been a very positive step forward, both in terms of highlighting the reality of the problems that our world is facing, and in getting people to act. The main conclusion however is that inequality continues to persist and quite obviously a lot more work needs to be done.
These are the conclusions reached in relation to maternal health:
- Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 45 per cent worldwide, and most of the reduction has occurred since 2000.
- In Southern Asia, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 64 per cent between 1990 and 2013, and in sub-Saharan Africa it fell by 49 per cent.
- More than 71 per cent of births were assisted by skilled health personnel globally in 2014, an increase from 59 per cent in 1990.
- In Northern Africa, the proportion of pregnant women who received four or more antenatal visits increased from 50 per cent to 89 percent between 1990 and 2014.
- Contraceptive prevalence among women aged 15 to 49, married or in a union, increased from 55 per cent in 1990 worldwide to 64 per cent in 2015.
So what happens next?
The United Nations is now in the process of defining Sustainable Development Goals as part a new sustainable development agenda. This agenda will be launched at the Sustainable Development Summit this month (September 2015).
The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 will take place in New York (25-27 September 2015).
As you can imagine. We’ll be keeping a close eye on outcomes and next steps.