Sub-Saharan Africa’s Progress towards MDGs 4 and 5: Do Changes in Coverage of Maternal and Child Health Interventions Enlarge or Lessen the Equity Gap?
Jean Christophe Fotso, Concern Worldwide U.S., Inc.
Ariel Higgins-Steele, Concern Worldwide U.S., Inc.
While recent evidence suggests substantial gains in maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), there is growing recognition of the need to focus on inequities, which often inhibit further improvements. This paper uses Demographic and Health Survey data from 15 African countries with four surveys since the 1990s, to examine trends in the coverage of MCH interventions. Analyses identify any accelerated progress in the recent past, compare trends in poor-rich inequity over time as it relates to increased coverage, and draw implications for FP/MNCH programs and the post-2015 agenda. The results show that modern contraceptive use, skilled birth attendance and child immunization increased during the period covered. In the Eastern/Southern region, the increase was substantially steeper, with a noticeable acceleration in the recent periods. Poor-rich Inequities in contraceptive use narrowed, while gaps in skilled birth attendance and immunization remained largely unchanged. Addressing inequities should deserve prominence in the post-2015 development agenda.