Key messages

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An African mother smiles at the child in her armsThe average annual reduction rates for maternal and child mortality in the region rank among the lowest in the world. Between 1990 and 2010, maternal mortality was reduced by 2.6% annually, and under-five mortality fell by just 2% per year.

A doctor attends to a patientAll women should have access to antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth.

All births to be attended by skilled health professionals: timely management and treatment can make the difference between life and death.

A health care worker vaccinates a baby held by its motherA child's risk of dying is highest the first 28 days of life. WHO emphasizes the importance of safe childbirth and effective neonatal care and taking steps (including vaccination) to prevent diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea (two of the main killers of children under five), as well as improving nutrition.

Malnutrition is the underlying contributing factor in over one third of all child deaths, making children more vulnerable to severe diseases.

A poster reading Every day 107 mothers die in the Eastern Mediterranean Region unnecessarilyIn the Eastern Mediterranean Region : Every day 107 mothers die due to pregnancy and delivery complications Every day 2005 children die unnecessarily. We have to act now