World Health Leaders Change Targets to Reach 2030 Maternal Health Development Goal

The COVID pandemic did much to upend global health. Not only were hospitals filled to overcapacity worldwide with patients experiencing severe COVID symptoms, but entire health systems were also brought to a halt. Routine medical procedures and quality care in other areas besides COVID were preempted by the global virus. This has caused global health goals to suffer, notably decreasing preventable maternal deaths.

This month the World Health Organization along with the UNFPA created new goals in order to get back on track to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3.1 –  reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births – by 2030. Right now, the estimates are at 211 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Currently, 810 women still die per day due to complications caused by pregnancy and childbirth. While this number is a drastic improvement from a decade ago there is still much to do in order to save more mothers’ lives not only in the United States but worldwide.

“All women and babies need access to affordable and high-quality care before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth,” said Dr. Anshu Banerjee, Director for Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing at WHO in a statement. “These new targets will be critical for delivering an effective continuum of care for maternal and newborn health, from access to sexual and reproductive health services to those vital checks in pregnancy, as well as the often neglected postnatal period.”

The Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) initiative, which includes a broad coalition of partners working in maternal and newborn health, has established new coverage targets and milestones that need to be achieved by 2025 if the SDGs are to be met says the WHO. Globally, these are for

  1. 90% pregnant women to attend four or more antenatal care visits (towards increasing to eight visits by 2030);
  2. 90% births to be attended by skilled health personnel;
  3. 80% women who have just given birth to access postnatal care within two days of delivery;
  4. 60% of the population to have access to emergency obstetric care within two hours of travel time;
  5. 65% of women to be able to make informed and empowered decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use, and their reproductive health.

These continuum of care guidelines and targets were designed to help improve the transition from the COVID haltp and moving forward towards the maternal health sustainable development goal to be reached by 2030. Without these interventions it is sure that the goal would be missed in less than a decade and it would be caused in large part by one of the worst pandemics in our lifetime

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