Act Now, Promote Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival!

October 16, 2013

Every single day, 452 women in sub-Saharan Africa die from pregnancy-related causes; that is 18 women every hour. The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa—where 1 in 9 children dies before age five. In the same region, neonatal mortality rate is 34 per 1,000 live births.

These are just a snippet of the statistics that shock us every now and then.

With each passing day, 2015 is drawing closer and so is the deadline for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Like-minded organizations across the globe focused on the achievement of health-related MDGs, particularly MDG 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health) are rallying to answer the key question ‘are we on track?’. If not, they are pressing that the time for action is now, in order to improve the survival of expectant mothers, newborn babies and young children.

The global movement, Countdown to 2015, uses country-specific data to track, stimulate and support country progress towards the health-related MDGs. It also focuses on coverage levels and trends for interventions proven to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, as well as critical determinants of coverage: health systems functionality, health policies, and financing. Equity in coverage across different population groups within and across Countdown countries is also examined. In addition, the Countdown uses these data to hold countries and their international partners accountable for progress in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Country-level Countdowns also receive support to implement evidence-based interventions in order to promote coverage.

*APHRC is now a member of Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, international agencies, professional organizations, donors, and non-governmental organizations with The Lancet as a key partner. The Center is part of the Technical Working Group (represented by Donatien Beguy) and will be conducting case studies in various countries and country-level Countdowns, of which Kenya will be the first.

Since 2005, the Countdown has achieved global impact by using available data to hold stakeholders to account for global and national action. Its focus is on the 75 countries where more than 95% of all maternal and child deaths occur. For more information on the selection process for country inclusion in the Countdown, visit

Click here for a copy of the Accountability for Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival 2013 Update