Giving birth can be extremely dangerous. Some 800 women die every day from complications of childbirth, according to the latest estimates from the United Nations.
There is one key intervention, though, that significantly decreases the risks facing women as they give birth: the presence of what is known as a “skilled birth attendant.” This can be a nurse, midwife, doctor or other professional trained and equipped to help a woman through a delivery.
Skilled birth attendants are such a key intervention in the fight against maternal mortality, that the proportion of birth attended by a skilled birth attendant is included in the Sustainable Development Goals as an indicator of progress toward the 2030 goal to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
UNICEF released a new report on June 3 taking stock of progress on maternal health. It found that despite progress globally, much of the world is still far off track to meet this Sustainable Development Goal. This interactive map shows where progress on skilled birth attendants is most lacking.
According to the analysis, from UNICEF, “from 2010 to 2017, the coverage of health personnel increased in many countries. However, the increase in coverage has been minimal in the poorest countries where maternal and neonatal mortality levels were the highest. For example, from 2010 to 2017, coverage increased from 4 to 5 health workers per 10,000 people in Mozambique, and from 3 to 9 in Ethiopia. In Norway that number increased from 213 to 228 health personnel per 10,000 people over the same period.”