As the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) nears, ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM) remains an unfinished agenda and one of the world’s most critical challenges despite significant progress over the past decade. Although maternal deaths worldwide have decreased by 45% since 1990, 800 women still die each day from largely preventable causes before, during, and after the time of giving birth. Ninety-nine per cent of preventable maternal deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
That is why the United Nations agencies, donors, country stakeholders and other development partners met in Bangkok, Thailand for a “Consultation on targets and strategies for ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM)”. The discussions were the culmination of earlier technical consultations that employed specific analytical methods to define feasible maternal mortality targets.
To prioritize equity at the country level, expanded and improved equity measures should be developed to accurately track efforts to eliminate disparities in MMR between subpopulations within all countries.
For countries with MMR less than 420 in 2010 (the majority of countries worldwide): reduce the MMR by at least two thirds from the 2010 baseline by 2030.
For all countries with baseline MMR greater than 420 in 2010: the rate of decline should be steeper so that in 2030, no country has an MMR greater than 140.
For all countries with low baseline MMR in 2010: achieve equity in MMR for vulnerable populations at the subnational level.
Target-setting is accompanied by the need for improved measurement approaches and data quality to allow more accurate tracking of country progress as well as causes of death. To contextualize the targets and allow collaborative strategic planning and best practice sharing at the regional level, it may be appropriate, in some regions, to define more ambitious targets.