Countdown to 2015 launches the 2012 report: fewer maternal and child deaths
But too many women and children still dying
Key findings of the new report
Country-by-country data gathered and analyzed for the 2012 report highlight the progress and show where greater efforts are needed in 75 high-burden countries:
On reducing maternal deaths:
Annual maternal deaths are down by 47 percent over the past two decades. Nine Countdown countries are on track to meet their 2015 MDG 5 goal by reducing the maternal mortality rate by 75 percent. But more than a third of the 75 Countdown countries have made little, if any progress.
On reducing deaths of children under age 5:
- Twenty-three Countdown countries are expected to achieve MDG 4. But 13 countries have made no progress in reducing child deaths.
- Forty percent of child deaths occur during the first month of life and most of these deaths are preventable through better nutrition and access to health services before, during and immediately after childbirth.
- Complications due to preterm birth are the leading cause of newborn deaths and the second leading cause of death in children under 5.
- More than 10 percent of all babies are born too soon. Preterm births are rising, instead of declining.
- Inadequate nutrition is a crisis in most Countdown countries, contributing to more than one-third of child deaths under 5 and one-fifth of maternal deaths.
- In most of these countries, more than one-third of the children are stunted, a condition especially common among the poorest populations where children are small because of a lack of good nutrition.
- Short maternal stature, often a result of stunting in childhood, and micronutrient deficiencies place pregnant women at greater risk for complications and low birth weight babies.
- Forty Countdown countries allocate less than 10 percent of total government spending to health.
- Fifty-three of the 75 Countdown countries face a severe shortage of health workers. Countries including Ghana, Malawi, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Tanzania have implemented innovative policies to hire, retain and motivate skilled health workers.