Countdown to 2015

Accountability update: Progress on maternal, child mortality

Report launch

27 MAY 2013 | KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — Countdown to 2015 has launched its latest accountability report in the lead up to the third global Women Deliver conference. The new report, Accountability for Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival: The 2013 Update, highlights country achievements in increasing coverage of key interventions, and identifies remaining challenges many countries face in reaching all women and children with life-saving services. It includes one-page country profiles, for each of the 75 countries where more than 95% of all maternal and child deaths occur, that focus on the core indicators selected in 2011 by the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, encompassing key elements of the reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) continuum of care.

With fewer than 1000 days remaining until the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this report provides urgently-needed evidence about country progress—and challenges preventing progress— in scaling up the health interventions that work to save women’s and children’s lives. Its key findings include:

  • Declining global levels of maternal and child mortality, but slower progress in some countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where fertility levels typically remain high: These countries must be prioritized for collective global, regional, and national action.
  • Newborn deaths now accounting for 40% or more of all child deaths in 35 of the Countdown countries: Improving newborn survival, including reducing stillbirths, must be a major focus of policies and programs.
  • Unacceptably high levels of stunting, a form of growth failure resulting from chronic undernutrition, in virtually all 75 countries: Nutrition must be an essential ingredient of maternal, newborn, and child survival programs.
  • Wide inequities in coverage for key interventions, both across and within Countdown countries: Global and national efforts must focus on reaching the poorest and other vulnerable sub-groups of the population.
  • High levels of fertility and unmet need for family planning highlight the need to broaden access to contraception: Growing political momentum around family planning must be translated into substantially increased resources.

Countdown’s 2013 Accountability Report can be downloaded at the Countdown website. Also available is the Country Countdown Toolkit, a set of tools and publications designed to assist countries in undertaking a Country Countdown, a country-led process that offers a set of methods and tools for making data an effective instrument of change.

About Countdown

Countdown to 2015 is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration that tracks, stimulates, and supports country progress on maternal, newborn, and child survival. It calls on governments and development partners to be accountable, identifies knowledge gaps, and proposes new actions to achieve MDGs 4 and 5, to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. It presents data on coverage levels, trends, and equity of coverage for health interventions proven to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, as well as on critical determinants of coverage including health systems functionality, health policies, and financing.

The secretariat of the Countdown to 2015 initiative is hosted by PMNCH.

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