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Overseas Aid

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what his most recent assessment is of progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal on maternal health; (248176)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal on maternal health.

The latest and most comprehensive assessment of global progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the goal to improve maternal health (MDG 5), is contained in the 2008 United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report. This noted that the maternal health MDG is severely off-track with little progress having been made in saving mothers’ lives. The report is available at:

DFID continues to work to accelerate progress to achieving both the targets of MDG 5. In October 2007 DFID announced an additional £100 million over five years to prevent unwanted pregnancies and make childbirth safer. This money is helping the UN Population Fund provide condoms, contraceptive pills and sexual health advice to poor people in South Asia and Africa. In June 2008, the UK Government announced a commitment to spend £6 billion on improving health systems and services over seven years to 2015.

Work is currently under way to revise and update DFID’s Maternal Health strategy for publication later this year. The strategy will set out what DFID will do to contribute to the achievement of the MDG 5 targets. A stakeholder consultation day was held on 13 January 2009 at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Further consultation is planned in the near future.