While the reasons for progress in reducing the maternal mortality ratio are numerous and certainly differ from country to country, countries have improved their commitment, as have development partners. Family planning has come back into focus, more women are accessing maternity services, clinical care policies are better informed by evidence, and technical capacity has improved. Underlying factors include increase in girls’ education and, in some countries, economic and social empowerment of women. The recent momentum in maternal survival needs acceleration in the final years toward 2015 as well as a clear vision to move forward – not only to sustain and accelerate progress, but to articulate a bold vision over the next generation.
What is an ambitious but practical target for post-2015 for ending preventable maternal death —and what steps are needed to reach that target?