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Given the current pace of progress, it is estimated that the world will fall short of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target by more than one million lives as well as a burden on maternal health and well-being. In addition, as of 2019, there were an estimated 2 million stillbirths; half of these deaths happened during labour and childbirth (intrapartum stillbirths). The deaths and disabilities that occur during pregnancy and childbirth have far reaching effects on women and the newborns. While many countries have made significant advancements, significant disparities in equitable coverage of essential maternal and perinatal health interventions remain as barriers in many settings.
In 2015, the strategies for Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM), a global multi-partner initiative, outlined broad strategies for maternal health programmes. EPMM aims to improve maternal health and well-being and achieve the SDG target for MMR. Reaching the SDG targets is grounded in a holistic, human rights-based approach to sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health, and rests on the foundation of health system strengthening that supports effective implementation for universal health coverage.