Developing Countries: Maternal Mortality

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 5th October 2020.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much the UK has (a) spent and (b) committed to be spent with the intention of helping achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing maternal mortality by a further two-thirds by 2030.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) review of maternal health results in 2018 made five recommendations, including adopting a long-term approach to maternal health planning, linking strongly to health system strengthening work and increasing the focus on quality of care. We welcomed all recommendations and the 2020 follow up review acknowledged our swift progress, finding that the UK had 'enhanced its emphasis on the need for good quality, respectful care for women and their babies and increased focus on adolescents and poorer women within its new family planning programmes'. ICAI also recognised the UK Government's commitment to Ending the Preventable Deaths of Mothers, Newborns and Children by 2030 and to international advocacy for comprehensive sexual reproductive health and rights.

Using internationally accepted methods, we estimate that the UK Government has spent an average of approximately £1 billion per year on Maternal Newborn and Child Health between 2013/14 - 2017/18, on a range of bilateral and multilateral programmes. Maternal health remains a key priority throughout our health work, with recently announced investments including £600 million to the Reproductive Health Supplies programme to buy family planning supplies for millions more women and girls in the world's poorest countries each year.

The UK commitment to ending preventable deaths has created further momentum to ensure the right balance in the FCDO portfolio across family planning, health services and other essential interventions for maternal and newborn health and wellbeing. This holistic approach is essential if we are to maximise the impact of our money and policy, and more important than ever before given the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating for health services across the world. In responding to the ICAI recommendations, we are reviewing our approach to maternal health results to include more context based country data and to increase our focus on long-term, sustainable change.

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