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Pandemic Has Regressed Africa’s Gains in Maternal and Child Health

Advances in women’s health and childhood well-being in Africa are at risk after antenatal care and immunization services were disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic, weakening the continent’s already-stretched health services, according to the World Health Organization. “For many African women, childbirth remains a persistent risk,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement. “Millions of children do not live long enough to celebrate their fifth birthday.” Only about 65% of births in Africa are attended by skilled health personnel. That’s the lowest in the world, and it remains well below the 2030 target of 90%, according to a WHO report. By 2030, about 390 women in sub-Saharan Africa will die in childbirth for every 100,000 live births, according to the study. The region’s infant mortality rate is now expected to be at 54 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030, more than double the target of less than 25.