Ending preventable maternal deaths: the time is now

This comment published in Lancet Global Health in 2013 reaffirms the need to accelerate progress towards the elimination of all preventable maternal mortality, and highlights recent targets and tools designed in this respect.

Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality underwent a decline of nearly 50% globally, from 543 000 maternal deaths per year to 287 000. But efforts need to be sustained and strengthened, and current discussions on the post-2015 agenda offer a great opportunity for a global push to end all preventable maternal deaths.

This comment also describes new targets on maternal health set up by WHO, the US government and other stakeholders, as well as the tools they designed to track progress against these targets. Lastly, this paper argues that new strategies are needed to catalyse this progress, should address the multiple causes of death beyond their clinical causes, and should take into account context-specific challenges. MDSR systems are highlighted as a necessary and key first step in this respect, with improved information allowing for the development of strategies addressing the multiple, context-specific causes of maternal mortality.

Bustreo F., Say L., Koblinsky M., Pullum T.W., Temmerman M., Pablos-Méndez, A. (2013). Ending preventable maternal deaths: the time is now. The Lancet Global Health, 1(4), e176 – e177.