Economics blog

Unit 4 Macro: Development Goals - Child Mortality & Maternal Health

The Millennium Development Goals include targets for reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. These targets include:

Target: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate

Target: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio


Under-five mortality rate, 1990 and 2010 (Deaths per 1,000 live births)

1990

2010

Sub-Saharan Africa

174

121

Southern Asia

117

66

South-Eastern Asia

71

32

Latin America and the Caribbean

54

23

Developed regions

15

7

Developing regions

97

63

There has been a 35 per cent drop in child mortality rates and despite population growth, the number of under-five deaths worldwide fell from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced a 2.4% annual fall, a marked improvement on the rate of fall seen during the 1990s. Despite this progress there are several areas of crucial concern:

  1. Death rates in the first month after birth have risen in the last ten years
  2. Deep and large rural-urban differences persist
  3. There are big disparities in infant survival rates between rich and poor households and between families where the mother has an education and where she does not

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Maternal mortality, (Maternal deaths per 100 000 live births, women aged 15-49)

1990

2010

Sub-Saharan Africa

850

500

Southern Asia

590

220

South-Eastern Asia

410

150

The Caribbean

290

190

Latin America

130

72

Developed regions

26

16

Developing regions

440

240

In 2010, 32 women per hour died as a result of giving birth. The global burden of maternal death has fallen sharply with a reduction of 47 per cent since 1990 – but the maternal mortality ration in developing regions was still 15 times higher than in developed regions. One in ten maternal deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa was attributed to the effects of HIV-aids.

There has been a ten per cent rise over twenty years in the percentage of birth deliveries attended by skilled doctors, nurses or mid-wives (65% in 2010) but this figure drops to less than half in Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Factors behind improving maternal health outcomes include:

  1. Attendance of skilled health personnel at birth
  2. Targeted nutritional interventions
  3. Better post-natal care  provision and incentives
  4. Fall in birth rate among adolescents
  5. Better ante-natal care provision & incentives
  6. Better knowledge about healthy behaviour

Video resources:

Improving child mortality in Afghanistan


Fighting Hunger in Brazil


Saving Lives in Sudan - One Mother at a Time


Reducing maternal mortality in India


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