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In anticipation of the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners released a consensus statement and full strategy paper on ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM). The EPMM target for reducing the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 2030 was adopted as Sustainable Development Goal target 3.1: to reduce global MMR to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030. To enable monitoring of the achievement of the goals, this report presents internationally comparable global, regional and country-level estimates and trends for maternal mortality between 2000 and 2017.

Having targets for mortality reduction is important, but accurate measurement of maternal mortality remains challenging and many deaths still go uncounted. Many countries still lack well functioning civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, and where such systems do exist, reporting errors – whether incompleteness (unregistered deaths, also known as “missing”) or misclassification of cause of death – continue to pose a major challenge to data accuracy.

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