MDG Progress In Short 5: Improve Maternal Health

Let it be known that women want and will find ways to control their own pregnancy rates given the opportunity.  We know when there is a limit to the mouths that can be fed or what our bodies can handle, and do not need government mandates limiting procreation (no offense, China).  Rather, access to family planning support can be extremely empowering for women, helping them create more opportunities in their lives.  Whether you are pro-choice or pro-abstinence, women around the world want to be able to determine how/when their womb is activated.  Sometimes she needs support to make those decisions.

And regarding teen pregnancy in the States, the solution is likely to be encouraging educated ambition rather than abstinence education.

GOAL 5: Improve maternal health

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

The leading causes of maternal mortality in developing regions are haemorrhage and hypertension, which together account for half of all deaths in expectant or new mothers. Indirect causes, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and heart disease, result in 18 per cent of maternal deaths. Other direct causes, such as obstructed labour, complications of anaesthesia or caesarean section, and ectopic pregnancy, lead to 11 per cent of all deaths during pregnancy or childbirth.

TARGET:  Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health

Data for 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa show that adolescents in the poorest households are three times more likely to become pregnant and give birth than those in the richest households. In rural areas, adolescent birth rates are almost double those of urban areas. But the largest disparities are linked to education: girls with a secondary education are the least likely to become mothers. The birth rate among girls with no education is over four times higher.

The unmet need for family planning remains moderate to high in most regions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in four women aged 15 to 49 who are married or in union and have expressed the desire to use contraceptives do not have access to them.

All the data listed in this blog set are pulled from the Millenium Development Goals Report of 2010, a progress report issued by the UN earlier in 2010. Each goal can help us understand some of the pressing crises of the world, bringing it into focus in our own lives.  Click here to find out some ways to get involved and make this new year time to reflect on the needs of the world.


About C. Sala Hewitt

C. Sala Hewitt
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