Maternal and Child Health

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Maternal and Child Health

We are making efforts to ensure that all women, newborn and children, regardless of where they live or are born, have access to quality health care services.

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In spite of remarkable global progress, the most essential maternal and reproductive health interventions do not still reach the most vulnerable and poorest women, newborn and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.

Each stage should be a positive experience, ensuring women and their babies reach their full potential for health and well-being.

Although important progress has been made in the last two decades, about 295 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. The most common direct causes of maternal injury and death were excessive blood loss, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labour, as well as indirect causes such as anemia, malaria, and heart disease.

Most maternal deaths are preventable with timely management by a skilled health professional working in a supportive environment.

Although the number of maternal and child deaths has decreased considerably, the Sustainable Development Goals that focus on reducing maternal (SDG3.1) and child (SDG3.2) mortality are far from being reached. Half of women in developing regions do not receive the recommended amount of health care they need. The difference in maternal mortality rates between developed and developing countries is the biggest global health inequity today. Moreover, every year more than eight million children under five years of age die from preventable causes, many within the first month of life.

Dr Raspail Founou, Director EBRI

The growing number of drug-resistant bacteria poses an increasing threat to the effectiveness of existing antibiotics. Indeed, only 3 new antibiotics have received approval in the last 30 years


  • 830 Women die every day from complications related to pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.
  • 99% Of these preventable deaths occur in developing countries 5.6 million children under five died in 2016, half of them were newborns
  • 80% Of births occur in countries where data for maternal causes of death do not exist or are incomplete

Maternal and newborn mortality in low- and middle-income countries is heavily exacerbated by indirect causes: taken together HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are among the leading causes of maternal mortality. In addition, the lack of reliable data on the number of deaths and their causes continues to hamper progress towards the SDG targets and must be a priority at the national and global level.

Improving the health outcomes of the most marginalized and fragile populations in the development regions, such as women, adolescents and children, is at the heart of our work.

Ending preventable maternal death must remain at the top of the global agenda. At the same time, simply surviving pregnancy and childbirth can never be the marker of successful maternal health care. It is critical to expand efforts reducing maternal injury and disability to promote health and well-being.

Every pregnancy and birth is unique. Addressing inequalities that affect health outcomes, especially sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender, is fundamental to ensuring all women have access to respectful and high-quality maternity care.


  • 2.7 million Of newborn deaths annually
  • 2.6 million Of babies die in the first month of life from conditions and diseases associated with lack of quality care at birth or skilled care and treatment immediately after birth.
  • 2.6 million Babies die in the last three months of pregnancy (stillbirth)

To ensure every child survives and thrives to reach their full potential, we must focus on improving care around the time of birth and the first week of life.

The high rates of preventable death and poor health and well-being of newborns and children under the age of five are indicators of the uneven coverage of life-saving interventions and, more broadly, of inadequate social and economic development. Poverty, poor nutrition and insufficient access to clean water and sanitation are all harmful factors, as is insufficient access to quality health services such as essential care for newborns.

Health promotion, disease prevention services (such as vaccinations) and treatment of common childhood illnesses are essential if children are to thrive as well as survive.


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