Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health



Many people consider the day their child was born the happiest day in their life. In the world’s wealthier countries, that is. In poorer countries, the day a child born is all too often the day its mother dies. In high-fertility countries in sub-Saharan Africa, women have a one in 16 chance of dying in childbirth. In low-fertility countries in Europe, this number is one in 2,000 and in North America it’s one in 3,500.


What are the Targets?

Goal 5 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio.

Did you know?

  • More than half a million women die in pregnancy and childbirth every year – that’s one death every minute. Of these deaths, 99 per cent are in developing countries. In parts of Africa, maternal mortality rates are 1 in 16. (Source:UNFPA)
  • Only 28 in 100 women giving birth are attended by trained health personnel in the least developed countries. (Source:ActionAid)

Reports website and other documents related to Goal 5

The State of World Population 2005 – UNIFEM’s report, The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals, calls upon world leaders to fulfill promises made to the world’s women and young people in order to meet poverty reduction goals agreed to at the 2000 Millennium Summit. Read the full report available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Health and the Millennium Development Goals – Building up and strengthening health systems is vital if more progress is to be made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a new report. Unless urgent investments are made in health systems, current rates of progress will not be sufficient to meet most of the goals. To read the report, visit the WHO website

Millennium Development Goals & Sexual and Reproductive Health – Improving the sexual and reproductive health of men, women and young people is essential for achieving all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but particularly those on gender equality and women’s empowerment, child mortality, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS.

Engendering the MDGs on Health 2003 – Materials from the Department of Gender and Women’s Health of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2003 highlighting the importance of addressing gender norms and inequalities as critical for the achievement of each MDG.To read more click here.

80 Million Lives—Meeting the MDGs in Child and Maternal Survival 2003 – Vision for human security–foster women’s economic security, human rights, and fight spread of HIV/AIDS. A report by Grow up Free from Poverty Coalition. Read the report here. To learn more visit the Save The Children website.