6 Improve maternal health

What is the current situation in the world?

The maternal mortality ratio dropped by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2013, however, this still falls far short of the MDG target. The target is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015.

Most maternal deaths are preventable. At the present time there are health-care solutions for the prevention and handling of complications. There must be common effort to ensure universal access to both skilled antenatal care and effective interventions, enhanced to include access to family planning, and information and services for reproductive health, especially in vulnerable populations.

Critical strategies for reducing maternal morbidity and mortality are the increase in use of effective methods of contraception, ensuring that every baby is delivered with the assistance of a skilled health attendant and the access to maternal health care. Health care during pregnancy can prevent, detect or predict potential complications during the pregnancy and delivery. Even though there are great improvements in these areas there are still large disparities between urban and rural areas. 

What is the current situation in Turkey?

Photo: Canan Doğanlar

In Turkey, maternal mortality ratio that is maternal deaths per 100 000 live births was 28.5% in 2006 and it was 15.5% in 2011. 

The majority of maternal deaths in Turkey occur during delivery. In fact half of all maternal deaths are during delivery while one-quarter of the deaths occur during the postpartum period.

Among the factors that intensify the medical conditions related to maternal mortality in Turkey are high fertility, insufficient antenatal care and nourishment, under-use of health services and the low status of women.

Quick facts
  • In Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia, maternal mortality has declined by around two thirds.
  • Only half of pregnant women in developing regions receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits.
  • Some 140 million women worldwide who are married or in union say they would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using contraception.

Source: 2013 Millennium Development Goals report

Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education