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23 April 2012

Countdown to 2015: Accountability for Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival: An update on progress in priority countries

At the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Kampala, Uganda, 31 March-5 April 2012), Countdown to 2015 – a global movement of academics, governments, United Nations agencies, health care professionals organizations, donors, and non-governmental organizations that aims to contribute significantly to the global accountability agenda around the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2010) – released the report Accountability for Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival: An update on progress in priority countries. This report aims to draw attention to promising results, as well as remaining challenges in providing a continuum of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health in the 73 countries that account for over 95% of maternal and child deaths.

The report finds that global progress has been made in terms of maternal health, yet not sufficient to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5a – to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters – for which only six countries of the 73 are currently on track. On a more positive note, 24 countries are on track to achieve MDG4 – reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds – although this is not the case for India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China where about half of under-five deaths occur. Moreover, the report notes that especially newborns remain vulnerable. Indicators to measure stunting – the long-term exposure to poor health and nutrition in the first years of life – reveal that, in the majority of countries, one in three children is stunted. When looking at the coverage of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health interventions, the report finds disturbing and widely varying ranging results as some countries reach much higher and others much lower proportions of the populations than the norm. The latter is illustrated in the report with an example of antenatal care: “although on average 56% of women reported four or more antenatal care visits during their last pregnancy, this was true for only 6% of women in Somalia and for 97% of women in Swaziland.”

The country profiles in this publication are based on indicators that were selected by the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health in 2011 and are therefore only a snapshot of the full Countdown to 2015 country profiles. The latter will be included in Countdown’s 2012 Report, which will be published in June 2012.

To access the report, click here.

For more information on Countdown to 2015, click here.

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