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A Decade of Tracking Progress for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival: The 2015 Report

Established in 2003, Countdown to 2015 is a global, multi-stakeholder movement that tracks 75 countries on their progress towards improving reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). These 75 Countdown countries, which include all six MamaYe countries, collectively face more than 95% of all maternal and child deaths in the world. Countdown produces a variety of reports, publications, and tools on key areas of RMNCH that can be used to hold key stakeholders to account for action at the global and national level.

This is the final Countdown to 2015 report, launched at the 2015 Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City, Mexico. The report provides a summary of findings from 2015, including trends in death rates and nutrition, intervention coverage, funding flows, and supportive policy and systems measures. The report assess progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4 (improve child survival) and 5 (improve maternal health), and highlights remaining gaps that must not be forgotten as the world transitions to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Key findings

  • Survival of mother and children improved greatly during the MDG era and many countries have now “graduated” from Countdown
  • Maternal and under-five death rates have each declined by about half since 1990 and the rate of progress has increased since 2000
  • Despite significant gains, most countries will fail to meet their MDG 4 and 5 targets.
  • Newborn survival and child nutrition are two key challenges that must be addressed.  Newborns now account for nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under age 5
  • Coverage of key interventions remains low and fails to reach at least a third of women and children who need them
  • Large coverage gaps exist for family planning, pregnancy and childbirth services, and childhood disease management
  • Although improving, there remain large gaps between the richest and poorest segments of the population in all Countdown countries
  • Donor funding for maternal, newborn, and child health tripled from 2003 to 2012.  However, out-of-pocket spending in countries remains a concern
  • Most Countdown countries face a severe shortage of skilled health workers and do not meet the World Health Organization benchmark of  22.8 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 10,000 people
  • Data availability has improved, and can be used to support evidence-based decision making for policies and programmes. However, important gaps remain in the availability and frequency of coverage data collected

The report concludes by highlighting lessons learned from Countdown’s 10 years of monitoring and accountability experience, and notes the importance of these lessons as we enter the Sustainable Development Goal era. 

To read the profiles of the E4A-MamaYe countries, click below.

To read the report for free, click here.

Countdown to 2015. (2015). A Decade of Tracking Progress for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival: The 2015 Report. Geneva: United Nations Children's Fund & World Health Organization.



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