Maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth and it is noticeably high in sub-Saharan African countries including Ethiopia. Maternal mortality is the most sensitive indicator of health disparities between poorer and richer nations, and for overall development. Despite efforts at curbing maternal mortality, developing countries including Ethiopia are still burdened with high rates of maternal mortality. Reducing the huge burden of maternal mortality remains the single most serious challenge in Ethiopia. Antenatal Care (ANC), use of skilled delivery attendants, delivery at health facility and postnatal care (PNC) are key maternal health services that can significantly reduce maternal mortality.
Despite the impressive progress made in improving the service coverages, there is inadequate utilization of pregnancy and childbirth care services in Ethiopia. Population-level coverage of maternal health services range from 74% for first antenatal care (ANC) visit to 43% for four or more ANC visits, 48% for skilled birth attendants (SBA) and 34% for postnatal care (PNC) within 2 days after birth. That leads to the least progress on reducing both maternal and neonatal mortality which stands at 29 deaths per 1000 live births in 2016 and 30 in 2019.
Fertility rate is a key component within maternal reproductive health indicators. The impact that a high fertility rate has on health is reflected mainly in a rise in the rates of maternal and child mortality. Similarly, fertility has a greater negative effect upon the health of groups characterized by high reproductive risk, high parity, short intergenesic intervals, and unwanted pregnancies. In Ethiopia, the high fertility rate has been contributing to the unprecedented increases in maternal and child mortality.