Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Skilled attendants at birth

Situation and trends

Most obstetric complications could be prevented or managed if women had access to skilled birth attendant – doctor, nurse, midwife – during childbirth. Globally coverage of skilled attendant during childbirth increased from 62% in 2000 to 73% in 2013. However, despite steady improvement globally and within regions, millions of births were not assisted by a midwife, a doctor or a trained nurse. More than 40% of births in the WHO African Region and WHO South-East Asia Region were not attended by a skilled health provider at birth.

Declines in maternal mortality rates between 1990 and 2015 may be due in part to improvements in other MDG indicators such as the proportion of deliveries attended by skilled health personnel. In the WHO South-East Asia Region with significant decreases in maternal mortality rates, increases in skilled health personnel at delivery are seen. Conversely, in the WHO African Region where the greatest number of maternal deaths occurred in 2015, there has been only modest progress-as just over 50% of births are attended by skilled health personnel.