Pakistan is among the five countries with the highest numbers of maternal deaths
In its 2014 Annual Report, Every Woman, Every Child: A Post-2015 Vision, the UN’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG) on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health has proposed radical new arrangements for advancing health of women and children in an era of sustainable development from the continuum of care to a cycle of wellbeing.
“The findings from the iERG report do underscore the critically important emphasis that countries need to place on addressing maternal and child health in the 400 days remaining for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Pakistan unfortunately has the slowest rate of improvement in these indicators in the region and needs to do much more,.”
– Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta,
Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University,
Co-Director at the Center for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and
member of UN’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG)
The iERG reports unprecedented scale-up of initiatives to meet MDGs 4 and 5 on child survival and maternal and reproductive health, respectively. But with only one full year to go before the MDG target date at the end of 2015, the iERG observes that there is little or no agreement between either of the two major monitors of MDG progress.
On MDG-4, according to data from the UN and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME, based at the University of Washington in Seattle), only seven out of 75 priority high-burden countries – Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Liberia, Nepal and Peru – are agreed to be on target to reduce under-five mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.
The progress in some countries has been little short of spectacular. Nine countries – India, China, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Nigeria – account for two-thirds of the reduction in child deaths between 2000 and 2013. But IHME also concluded that, despite this progress, only 27 low and middle income countries would reach their MDG-4 target.
According to IHME, five countries with the highest numbers of maternal deaths – India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Congo – accounted for over half the total.
The iERG was created in 2011 by the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. The final report of that Commission, chaired by the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, and the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, proposed an accountability framework for women’s and children’s health, together with 10 recommendations. On the issue of global reporting, the Commission called for a time-limited independent Expert Review Group to be established and to operate until 2015.
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