Universal Health Coverage means that everyone – including the poorest and most marginalised – can access the health care they need without financial hardship.
In sub-Saharan Africa, despite improvements in maternal survival during the period of the MDGs, more than 200,000 women still die each year during childbirth with wide disparities in maternal mortality ratios between countries across the African continent.
Some countries like Egypt, Mauritius and Tunisia, meet the SDG3.1 Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) global average target of less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births. At the other end of the scale, African Health Stats shows that Sierra Leone has the worst MMR in the world at 1,360 per 100,000 live births. This means that a woman in Sierra Leone faces a lifetime risk of 1 in 17 that she will die in childbirth.
These figures hide even greater inequalities in access within countries, with rural women continuing to be left behind. In Sierra Leone and Ghana, twice as many women give birth attended by a skilled birth attendant in urban than rural areas, and in Nigeria the difference is nearly threefold.
E4A-MamaYe supports the growing global consensus that universal health coverage is a smart investment and an achievable goal everywhere. Our work, across the continent, strives towards ensuring that all women have access to quality maternal health care; wherever they live, no matter how much money they have.
Today we are taking part in Universal Health Coverage Day, and asking world leaders to accelerate progress towards a safe childbirth for all women.