Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: A Call for Comments

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By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

This year, WHO’s Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) Working Group, including experts from the MHTF, have been working together to help set consensus and strategies for addressing maternal and neonatal health in the post-2015 agenda.

Today, their draft paper, Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality, is available. This paper expounds on the consensus building for the post-2015 agenda that happened in Bangkok in April. In the paper, the authors summarize the global burden of maternal mortality and the urgency to make EPMM a priority within a human rights framework.

The paper summarizes the successes and weaknesses of the Millennium Development Goals and how as a global community we should approach the post-2015 agenda as countries strive to address direct and indirect causes of maternal mortality and morbidities. In addition, a strategic approach to EPMM is necessary given global and national disparities in maternal mortality with 99% of maternal mortality occurring in the developing world and wide national disparities within both developed and developing countries, as well.

In order to address these inequities, there are specific targets for global and country equity in maternal mortality ratio (MMR) reduction.  The goal is to reduce the global average MMR to 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. In order to foster equity at a country level, countries with MMRs less than 420 in 2010 must reduce their MMR by 2/3 while countries with a baseline MMR greater than 420 in 2010 must achieve an MMR below twice the global average, or 140, by 2030.

In order to strengthen global consensus on goals and strategies for EPMM, the authors would like your comments on this draft paper before it is finalized. Please submit your comments and feedback on Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality, by July 31st, 2014 to epmm@who.int.