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Analytical summary - Maternal and newborn health

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The health care that a mother receives during pregnancy, at the time of delivery, and soon after delivery is important for the survival and well-being of both the mother and her baby. In Zambia, maternal and newborn health is among the national health priorities. The objectives in this area are aligned to the Millennium Development Goals and other global objectives and strategies relevant to maternal and newborn health.

Zambia is among the countries with the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the world. However, over the past 10 years, the country has intensified its efforts towards strengthening of maternal and newborn health by scaling up high impact interventions.

As a result of these efforts, significant progress has been reported, leading to reductions in maternal, infant and under five mortality rates. According to the ZDHS 2007, maternal mortality ratio has reduced from 729 per 100000 live births in 2002 to 591 in 2007, infant mortality rate has decreased from 95 deaths per 1000 live births to 70 and under-five mortality from 168 per 1000 live births to 119, respectively.

Although there has been a reduction in neonatal mortality from 37 to 34, this reduction is considered insignificant. Neonatal deaths constitute approximately half the proportion of infants who die, leading to concerns of poor perinatal care in the country. While these reductions in mortalities are impressive, they are still considered high by regional and global standards, and require more efforts to bring them down to acceptable levels, in line with the Millennium Development Goal targets.