Building upon the successes of Countdown to 2015, Countdown to 2030 aims to support the monitoring and measurement of women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health in the 81 countries that account for 95% of maternal and 90% of all child deaths worldwide. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the rate of decline in prevalence of maternal and child mortality, stillbirths, and stunting among children younger than 5 years of age needs to accelerate considerably compared with progress since 2000. Such accelerations are only possible with a rapid scale-up of effective interventions to all population groups within countries (particularly in countries with the highest mortality and in those affected by conflict), supported by improvements in underlying socioeconomic conditions, including women’s empowerment.
Three main conclusions emerge from our analysis of intervention coverage, equity, and drivers of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) in the 81 Countdown countries. First, even though strong progress was made in the coverage of many essential RMNCH interventions during the past decade, many countries are still a long way from universal coverage for most essential interventions. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence suggests that available services in many countries are of poor quality, limiting the potential effect on RMNCH outcomes. Second, within-country inequalities in intervention coverage are reducing in most countries (and are now almost non-existent in a few countries), but the pace is too slow. Third, health-sector (eg, weak country health systems) and non-health-sector drivers (eg, conflict settings) are major impediments to delivering high-quality services to all populations. Although more data for RMNCH interventions are available now, major data gaps still preclude the use of evidence to drive decision making and accountability. Countdown to 2030 is investing in improvements in measurement in several areas, such as quality of care and effective coverage, nutrition programmes, adolescent health, early childhood development, and evidence for conflict settings, and is prioritising its regional networks to enhance local analytic capacity and evidence for RMNCH.
Corporate Author: Cesar Victora, Jennifer Requejo, Jennifer Requejo, Ties Boerma, Agbessi Amouzou, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Robert E Black, Mickey Chopra