The world came together in 2000 to outline a plan to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015 leading to the creation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This July the U.N. released “The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009,” a report nine years later that evaluates how close we are to achieving the MDGs. While the picture is not all bleak and progress is being made in meeting these important goals, it is clear that one of the goals is being left far behind.
MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health with targets to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015.
The report says:
…fallout from the global financial situation may be compromised funding for programmes to improve maternal health, the goal to which there has been least progress so far. Since the mid-1990s, most developing countries have experienced a major reduction in donor funding for family planning on a per woman basis, despite the undeniable contribution of such programmes to maternal and child health.
…the available trend data indicate that there has been little progress in the developing world as a whole—480 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in 1990 compared to 450 deaths in 2005—and that small decline reflects progress only in some regions…Very little progress has been made in sub-Saharan Africa, where women face the greatest lifetime risk of dying as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.
At a time when one woman dies every minute from pregnancy or childbirth related causes it is more important than ever to not let this MDG fall even further behind. In order to meet MDG 5 donor countries need to make maternal health a priority and increase funding for family planning. The U.S. this year is poised to provide $648 million for international family planning assistance in 2010, 40 percent higher than the 2008 level. If the goal of achieving universal access to reproductive health services is to become a reality, other nations need to do their part.
By: Jennie Wetter, Program Manager