The world is closing in on being just 500 days away from the deadline for achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals, set in 2000, aimed to improve the world by 2015 across eight broad areas: poverty and hunger, education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, major diseases (HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria), environmental sustainability, and global support for development.
A new progress report released this week shows Goal 5, focusing on maternal health, is still one of the most off-track. As the video above shows, half of women still don’t receive recommended health care during pregnancy. Almost 300,000 women died globally in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And target 5B, which calls for universal access to reproductive health? Not even close. Though the proportion of married or partnered women using contraception doubled between 1990 and 2012 in sub-Saharan Africa, it still stands at just 26 percent. In developing countries, nearly a quarter of a billion women want to prevent pregnancy but lack modern contraception.
The U.N. has called for “bold action” in the next year-and-a-half to speed up progress before the MDG deadline. Our suggestion? Time to invest in women.