In 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio stood at 216 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Achieving the target of less than 70 maternal deaths by 2030 requires an annual rate of reduction of at least 7.5 per cent, more than double the annual rate of progress achieved from 2000 to 2015. Most maternal deaths can be prevented. In 2016, 78 per cent of live births worldwide benefited from skilled care during delivery, compared to 61 per cent in 2000. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, the rate in 2016 was only 53 per cent of live births.
The mortality rate for children under 5 years of age globally was 43 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. That rate represents a 44 per cent reduction since 2000. Mortality among children under 5 years of age remains high in sub-Saharan Africa, with a rate of 84 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. Children are most vulnerable in the first 28 days of life (the neonatal period). In 2015, the global neonatal mortality rate was 19 deaths per 1,000 live births, a decrease from 31 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000. Neonatal mortality is highest in Central and Southern Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, at 29 deaths per 1,000 live births in each of those regions in 2015. Preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing adolescent childbearing through universal access to sexual and reproductive health care is crucial to the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents.
In 2017, 78 per cent of women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years of age) worldwide who were married or in union had their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods, up from 75 per cent in 2000. Progress has been substantial in the least developed countries, with a rise of 18 percentage points from 2000 to 2017. Globally, the adolescent birth rate among females aged 15 to 19 declined by 21 per cent from 2000 to 2015; in Northern America and Southern Asia, it dropped by more than 50 per cent. However, the adolescent birth rate remains high in two thirds of all countries, with more than 20 births per 1,000 adolescent girls in 2015.