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Why Safe Motherhood?

Safe Motherhood does not refer to the operation or infrastructure of health facilities, but the promotion and protection of the right to the highest attainable standard of health of women, mothers and newborns.

Safe Motherhood aims to reflect the diversity of women's experiences of mothers, according to inequality in income distribution, inequities related to place of residence, ethnicity and gender.

To ensure safe motherhood requires a commitment of all members of society to commit to the health of women, mothers and newborns, and secure universal access to quality services.

For more information, please read the Safe Motherhood Initiative Operational Plan

Progress Toward Achieving MDG 5

The countries within the region of the Americas are on track to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3 (promoting gender equality) and MDG 4 (reduce child mortality).

However, the region has insufficient progress on other MDGs, including MDG 5. It has succeeded in reducing maternal mortality by about 25% between 1990 and 2007 but is still far from achieving by 2015 75% reduction to which 189 countries pledged.

Achieving MDG 5 requires a concerted effort, and will require political will for the implementation of strategies and cost-effective interventions based on scientific evidence to improve the health of women in the region. Without these, it is difficult to achieve MDG 5.

Priorities for Action

  • Achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health services
    • Ensure the existence of comprehensive reproductive health services, including family planning and postabortion care
    • Increase social protection for mothers and newborns
  • Improve the quality of prenatal care, childbirth and postpartum care
    • Improve the skills of providers through training services
  • Reduce unsafe abortion
    • Incorporate contraceptives in the essential drug list
    • Review the laws on sexual and reproductive health
  • Reduce the prevalence of severe maternal morbidity
    • Incorporate scientific organizations in the effort to reduce severe maternal morbidity
  • Improve information systems
    • Increase the use of the Perinatal Information System (SIP) 
    • Disaggregate indicators according to the various populations and ethnic groups
  • Strengthen community participation and develop the capacity of communities to access family planning services and care to women, mothers and newborns
  • Empower women
    • Support their right to make their own decisions about their reproductive lives, and involve their families and communities

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