Looking ahead to Women Deliver: Making sure mothers aren’t left behind

On April 13, the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted an event on maternal and newborn health. Titled “After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns,” the event brought together voices from the global health community in advance of the Women Deliver conference occurring in Copenhagen in May.

A number of experts from the Wilson Center, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Save the Children, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations highlighted the progress made in maternal health, as well as the opportunities that lie ahead. For example, in 1990, there were 385 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Fortunately, maternal mortality has declined globally: in 2015, that number decreased to 216 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

However, 75 percent of maternal deaths result from preventable illnesses, such as infections, excessive bleeding, high blood pressure and more. With that in mind, the global community will come together at Women Deliver to tackle the ambitious targets within the UN-adopted Sustainable Development Goal 3, which focuses on greater health for everyone. Discussions at Women Deliver will place a gender lens over this SDG goal, highlighting how Goal 3 targets are specifically aimed at improving the health of women and newborns. In particular, these ambitious targets include “reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births and reducing preventable deaths of newborns to 12 (or fewer) per 1,000 live births by 2030.”

Additionally, panelists listed 10 actions that can be taken as part of a roadmap for improving maternal and newborn health in the new, post-2015 development agenda. A few highlights include integrating strategies and services, reaching the most vulnerable — especially adolescents — as well as increasing investments and improving services.

Please see the full discussion below, or visit the Wilson Center website for more information.

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