Most maternal deaths can be prevented, and we need an annual rate of reduction of at least 7.5 per cent – more than double the annual rate of progress achieved from 2000 to 2015 – if we are to achieve the 2030 target of fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Progress has been made in access to skilled care during delivery: 78 per cent of live births worldwide benefited from skilled care during delivery, compared to 61 per cent in 2000. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, the rate in 2016 was only 53 per cent of live births.
The mortality rate for children under 5 years of age globally in 2015 was a 44 percent reduction since 2000, with 43 deaths per 1,000 live births. However, mortality rates among this demographic remains high in sub-Saharan Africa with a rate of nearly double. Children are most vulnerable in the first 28 days of life, and in 2015, the global neonatal mortality rate was 19 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is a decrease from 31 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000, but neonatal mortality remains in Central and Southern Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, at 29 deaths per 1,000 live births in each of those regions. Preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing adolescent childbearing through universal access to sexual and reproductive health care is crucial to the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents.
We have made great progress in ensuring that women of reproductive age (15-49) who are partnered had their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods, with 78 per cent having access in 2017. Progress has been substantial in the least developed countries, with a rise of 18 percentage points from 2000 to 2017. This has contributed to a decline of 21 per cent in adolescent birth rates from 2000 to 2015; in Northern America and Southern Asia, it dropped by more than 50 per cent. Now, we need to focus on developing countries, where there were more than 20 births per 1,000 adolescent girls in 2015.