What Do We Want To Achieve?

  • Reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters
  • Achieve universal access to reproductive health

Global and National Overview
The number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth related complications has almost halved in the last 20 years, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank. From 1990 to 2010, the annual number of maternal deaths has dropped from more than 543,000 to 287,000 – a decline of 47 per cent.

However, while substantial progress has been achieved in almost all regions, many countries particularly in sub-Saharan Africa will nevertheless fail to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal death by 75 per cent from 1990 to 2015. Disparity again exists within and across countries and regions.

In Zimbabwe, there is a serious crisis as regards maternal mortality. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has worsened dramatically from 1994 to 2010. According to the most recent (2010/2011) Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey, the maternal mortality rate stands at 960 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is significantly higher than the rate of 612 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005-2006.  The top four causes of death from 2010-2011 were post-partum haemorrhage, sepsis, pre-eclampsia and malaria. Three quarters of maternal deaths are attributed to three different delays: the first delay being the decision to seek health care; the second delay being to reach a health care facility, and the third delay being to access care at the health facility. The proportion of home deliveries without a skilled birth attendant stood at 69 percent in 2009, a decrease from previous rates.

What Challenges Remain?

  • Every minute, a woman dies due to complications from childbirth, more than half a million worldwide per year
  • Health coverage remains low in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, regions where the majority of deaths are concentrated