Millennium Development Goal 5

Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, adopted in 2000, is a commitment to improve maternal health by 2015. Target 5B, added in 2006, calls for countries to provide universal access to reproductive health. This will be measured by the contraceptive prevalence rate, adolescent birth rate, antenatal care coverage and the unmet need for family planning.

One of the many challenges is that, in many countries, information and data on sexual and reproductive health do not exist or are not collected in a way that helps policy-makers to base policies on need or allows progress to be measured.

Reaching MDG 5 will involve:

  • providing sufficient financing to strengthen health systems, particularly for maternal and child care and other reproductive health services, and ensuring the procurement and distribution of contraception, drugs and equipment;
  • establishing national programmes to reduce maternal mortality and ensure universal access to reproductive health care, including family planning services;
  • providing trained health workers during and after pregnancy and childbirth for delivery of high-quality antenatal care, timely emergency obstetric services and contraception;
  • ensuring access to timely emergency obstetric services and providing adequate communication, skilled personnel, facilities and transportation systems, especially in areas where poverty, conflict, great distances and overloaded health systems obstruct such efforts;
  • adopting and implementing policies that protect poor families from the catastrophic consequences of unaffordable maternity care, including through access to health insurance or free services;
  • protecting pregnant women from domestic violence, and involving men in maternal health and wider reproductive health;
  • increasing access to contraception and sexual and reproductive health counselling for men, women and adolescents;
  • increasing efforts to prevent child marriage and ensuring that young women postpone their first pregnancy.