Improving maternal and newborn health and survival and reducing stillbirth highlights global progress on maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and stillbirths, as well as country efforts to meet the global targets for all three of these critical challenges. Using data from recently published analyses on maternal mortality, stillbirths and neonatal mortality, as well as new data on country progress towards the ENAP-EPMM coverage targets and milestones, this summary report presents the key findings from the data and priority actions.


The report shows that progress in improving survival has stagnated since 2015, with around 290 000 maternal deaths each year, 1.9 million stillbirths – babies who die after 28 weeks of pregnancy – and a staggering 2.3 million newborn deaths, which are deaths in the first month of life.

The COVID-19 pandemic, rising poverty, and worsening humanitarian crises have intensified pressures on stretched health systems. Since 2018, more than three-quarters of all conflict-affected and Sub-Saharan African countries report declining funding for maternal and newborn health. Just 1 in 10 countries (of more than 100 surveyed) report having sufficient funds to implement their current plans. Moreover, according to the latest WHO survey on the pandemic’s impacts on essential health services, around a quarter of countries still report ongoing disruptions to vital pregnancy and postnatal care and services for sick children.

How to Use

The joint report outlines progress at the mid-point for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and highlights priority actions towards eliminating preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths.

The report tracks progress against two key global strategies: Every newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths and Strategies for ending preventable maternal mortality. Targets, among others, include: (1) 90% pregnant women receiving at least four antenatal care contacts, (2) skilled health personnel attending 90% births, (3) 80% of new mothers and babies receiving postnatal care within two days of birth and (4) 80% of districts across countries having access to emergency obstetric services and small and sick newborn care.