This September, the African Journal of Reproductive Health launched a special edition on the implications of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Africa’s development. Despite notable achievements, sub-Saharan Africa did not meet many of the preceding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And as of 2015, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa. To meet the SDG targets related to maternal newborn health, namely SDG 3 (“ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”) and SDG 5 (“achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”), the global community must remain vigilant in its efforts, especially in high-burden settings. The special edition provides a platform for commentary, original research and review articles on Africa’s transition from MDGs to SDGs in the context of sexual, reproductive and maternal health.
Challenges, implications and lessons learned
The edition explores the challenges and implications of the new global goals and ways to apply lessons learned from the MDGs to the SDGs:
- The challenge of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: The way forward | Rotimi Jaiyesimi
- Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: Call for a paradigm shift | Kole Shettima
- From MDGs to SDGs: Implications for maternal newborn health in Africa | Sarah M. Hodin, Jacquelyn M. Caglia, Martina Baye, Joannie Bewa, Peter Waiswa, Ana Langer
- Trends in health facility births in sub-Saharan Africa: An analysis of lessons learned under the Millennium Development Goal Framework | Ifeyinwa E. Udo, Henry V. Doctor
The issue includes evaluations of specific interventions, such as the use of essential medicines and quality education, that can advance sexual, reproductive and maternal health to meet the global targets:
- The imperative to expand provision, access and use of misoprostol for post-abortion care in sub-Saharan Africa | Andrzej Kulczycki
- Achieving universal access to health care in Africa: The role of primary health care | Andrew G. Onokerhoraye
- Nutrition security and Sustainable Development Goals in Africa | Ramadhani A. Noor, Wafaie W. Fawzi
- Dependency of quality education for attaining the health-related Sustainable Development Goals in Africa | Peter A. Okebukola
- Factors associated with teen pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa: A multi-country cross-sectional study | Clifford Odimegwu, Sibusiso Mkwananzi
- Obstetric fistula: A narrative review of the literature on preventive interventions in sub-Saharan Africa | Eniya K. Lufumpa, Sarah Steele
- Changing patterns of unmet needs for family planning among women of reproductive age in Nigeria | Bamgboye E. A, Ajayi I.
- Achieving health SDG 3 in Africa through NGO capacity building: Insights from the Gates Foundation Investment in Partnership in Advocacy for Child and Family Health (PACFaH) project | Judith-Ann Walker
- Engendering the attainment of the SDG-3 in Africa: Overcoming the socio cultural factors contributing to maternal mortality | Rosemary N. Ogu, Kingsley N. Agholor, Friday E. Okonofua
The special edition provides insight into the lack of high quality data and the need for improved measurement to achieve the SDGs:
- SDGs: The need for vital registration and accurate record keeping | Paul Feyi-Waboso
- Exploratory study of the current status of the rights and welfare of Ghanaian women: Taking stock and mapping gaps for new actions | Dan-Bright S. Dzorgbo, Sylvia Esther Gyan
- Service availability and readiness assessment of maternal, newborn and child health services at public health facilities in Madagascar | Sandrine H. Andriantsimietry, Raymond Rakotomanga, Jean Pierre Rakotovao, Eliane Ramiandrison, Marc Eric R. Razakariasy, Rachel Favero, Patricia Gomez, Blami Dao, Eva Bazant
- Reducing maternal mortality by strengthening community maternal support systems: Findings from a qualitative baseline study in northern Nigeria Ekechi Okereke, Susan B. Aradeon, Ibrahim Yisa
- Challenges for measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals | Lindsay Edouard, Stan Bernstein
- Religion and labour force participation in Nigeria: Is there any inequality among women? | Oluwagbemiga E. Adeyem, Kolawole E. Odusina, Akinwole E Akintoye
- Social Return on Investment (SROI): An innovative approach to Sustainable Development Goals for sexual and reproductive health programming in sub-Saharan Africa | Shubha R. Kumar, Aduragbemi Banke-Thomas
Though the special edition covers a wide range of topics, the authors converge on a call to increase reliable, disaggregated data, expand access to family planning and lifesaving medicines and address the root causes of preventable maternal deaths in order for Africa to meet the ambitious SDG targets.
Read interviews with experts on sexual, reproductive and maternal health in Africa:
- Emmanuel Ugwa (Nigeria)
- Joannie Bewa (Benin)
- Patrick Mwesigye (Uganda)
- Marleen Temmerman (Kenya)
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