Trends in maternal and child mortality (MCM) in sub-Saharan Africa do not follow the patterns seen in developed nations or match the funds and effort invested so far. This paper critically explores trends in MCM, global efforts to reduce MCM, and some of the underlying policies and programmatic issues that have shaped the slow progress or failure in reducing MCM in sub-Saharan Africa. We describe a “yo-yo” effect in policies and funding of Maternal and Child Health, Family Planning, and HIV/AIDS/STI programs in the region, and how this yo-yo effect may limit sustained community level reductions in MCM. We conclude by highlighting how renewed interest in the Alma-Ata declaration, particularly its primary health care concepts with their strong emphasis on horizontally integrated linkage of programs and resources, greater community involvement in program design and implementation, and economic development can contribute to sustainable reductions in MCM in the region.


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pp. 149-169
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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