6 Improve maternal health

Where are we?

maternity hospital
A UNDP rehabilitated Maternity and Children's Hospital in Fallujah. Photo by UNDP Iraq 2013

Measuring maternal mortality accurately is unusually difficult, except where there is comprehensive registration of deaths and causes of death.

Deliveries that took place under the supervision of a qualifi­ed physician increased signifi­cantly from 72.1% in 2000 to approximately 90.9% in 2011. Deliveries in rural areas under the supervision of a physician also increased significantly, from 60.2% in 2000, to 78.1% in 2006 and to 84.5% in 2011. Nine governorates supersede the national average and Karbala has reached the MDG target of 100%. Iraq is on track to achieving the 100% target rate by 2015. However, only 76.6% of births were attended at health care centers.

63.2% of mothers received tetanus toxoid vaccination in 2011. These percentages also vary according to educational level with 81.7% of mothers with primary or high school education having received the vaccination compared with 49.1% of mothers with no formal education who received the vaccination. .

The percentage of unmet needs in the area of family planning decreased from 10.8% in 2006 to 8.0% in 2011, and there is a rising demand for contraception, shown in the increase of demand from 43.5% in 2000 to 52.5% in 2011. The highest such rate is found in Sulaymaniyah with 68.1% and the lowest in Ninewa with 43%. Women’s education level is associated with the use of contraceptives. The percentage of women using any method of contraception rises from 45% among women with no education to 51% among women with primary education and to 57% among women with secondary or higher education.[1]

[1] MICS4. P21-22

UNDP's work in Iraq

  • Photo by UNDP Iraq 2013


Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education