New data and methodologies indicate much more progress than previously thought in reducing maternal mortality, but that is still the MDG that lags the most. On current trends, the world will likely miss these three targets by 2015.
Development assistance for health has quadrupled since 1990, peaking at $24 billion in 2008. Health spending by developing-country governments has also peaked (albeit at a much lower level), nearly doubling to reach $240 million during 1995– 2006.
Despite these huge funding gains and sharp expansions in access to health services, the quality (or outcomes) of health remains a grave concern progress toward development targets has been uneven.
For example, the global average attendance at a minimum of one prenatal visit is 78 percent, but attendance at four visits—needed for the full impact on maternal mortality—is around 48 percent.
This year's report highlights lessons on the disconnect between spending and outcomes derived from recent impact evaluations in health. Although designing the right approach to improving outcomes is complex and context dependent, a systematic evidence base generated through impact evaluations can provide useful guidance for policy makers.
In addition, as highlighted in the 2004 World Development Report: Making Services Work for Poor People, improving service delivery in health, in addition to increasing resources, is vital to reach many MDGs.