Remarkable Progress in Reducing Child Mortality and Improving Maternal Health

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Mother and child

Some of the world's poorest countries have managed to cut maternal and young child mortality rates by half or more, according to a new report from Countdown to 2015.

The report, "Accountability for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival", highlights successes in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality in some countries, while pointing out where progress has been lagging in others.

The report says there has been remarkable progress in expanding the reach of programs that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and vaccinate children against life-threatening illnesses like diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. These successes, it says, highlight what can be accomplished through political commitment and increased investment in effective interventions for maternal, newborn and child health.

The report says greater effort is needed to improve coverage of other life-saving interventions like antibiotic treatment of pneumonia and post-natal care for women and newborns.

Rwanda, Botswana, and Cambodia have made notable progress in reducing mortality since 2000, each ranking in the top five among the 75 countries studied in the report in regard to rate of reduction of mortality.

Chief of Health for UNICEF and Co-Chair of Countdown to 2015, Mickey Chopra says "Progress is especially happening in countries where governments are using evidence to guide investment and policy decisions, and where all stakeholders — including the UN, donors, corporate and civil society — are working together effectively to create real change for women and children."

Countdown to 2015 assesses progress in the 75 countries that together account for more than 95% of all maternal and child deaths. This evidence is intended to support greater progress towards achieving UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 by 2015.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’48″

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