Target 3.1 aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a female due to pregnancy or childbirth. Besides the tragic loss of the mother’s life, there are long-term, adverse effects on the child, the family, and the community.
Maternal mortality occurs in all parts of the world, but it is much more prevalent in low and lower middle-income countries. In 2017 an average of 10 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births occurred in Europe, while an average of 415 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births occurred in lower income countries – a 40-fold difference. In several sub-Saharan African countries, there are over 1,000 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births.
Most of these deaths are preventable: high blood pressure during pregnancy can be treated with medication; severe bleeding after childbirth can be prevented with an injection of oxytocic; infections after childbirth can be prevented with good hygiene practices and proper medication; unsafe abortion can be prevented with proper access to contraception and safe abortion practices. These are the leading causes of maternal death and their life-saving health interventions.
Women do not receive these health interventions because they do not have access to quality health care. Less than half of all births in the countries with the highest maternal mortality ratio are attended by a trained midwife, nurse or doctor. This SDG can be achieved by 2030 if women have quality health care before and during pregnancy and after childbirth.