During 2020-2022, Countdown worked in Morocco and six other countries to understand the drivers of the major declines in maternal and newborn mortality over the past decades, as part of the Global Health Exemplars studies of Gates Ventures.
The Countdown exemplar study in Morocco included Centre de Santé Reproductrice (CSR) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. All the Countdown exemplar studies have a similar mixed methods design.
Between 2000 and 2017, Morocco’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) more than halved, from an estimated 188 to 70 (per 100,000 live births); during that time, the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) decreased from 27 to 13 (per 1000 live births). Thus, the average annual reductions were approximately 6% for maternal mortality and 4% for neonatal mortality. Morocco’s estimates are based on very good neonatal mortality data and limited maternal mortality data. The annual rate reductions were greater than the Northern Africa regional mean of about 5% for MMR and 3% for NMR during these years and better than those in the broader Middle East and North African region. Moreover, Morocco’s annual reductions for MMR and NMR outpaced the global mean reductions of 3% for MMR and NMR. Morocco’s performance remained higher than average after adjusting for its economic growth during 2000-2017, measured by GNI per capita. Furthermore, the trends are not distorted by conflicts or disasters, or by an HIV epidemic, although remote mountainous areas present challenges in service provision.
More context about maternal health in Morocco is available in this article written by some of the Countdown team members.