n African Journal of Reproductive Health - From MDGs to SDGs : implications for maternal newborn health in Africa - : commentary

Volume 20 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1118-4841
  • E-ISSN: 2141-3606


In 2015, the United Nations issued a report detailing the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Despite some remarkable improvements, a number of targets remain unfulfilled. MDG 5 ambitiously aimed to improve maternal health by reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 75% by lowering the adolescent birth rate and increasing skilled birth attendance, contraceptive usage and antenatal coverage. While very few countries actually achieved this target, we did see a 45% reduction in the global MMR. As of 2015, the MMR remains highest in sub-Saharan Africa at 546 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births compared to the global MMR of 216 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Furthermore, hidden in these global averages are persistent and worsening gaps, as the MMR varies greatly not just between countries but also population groups within them. These inequalities result from a number of factors including disparities in socio-economic status, unequal access to health care services, and geography.

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