Despite global progress in reducing maternal and child deaths, more than 300,000 women die each year giving birth while six million children do not live to see their fifth birthday, the United Nations reports.
The majority of these deaths are preventable.
Improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls is the focus of the Women Deliver conference being held this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Nana Kuo is Senior Manager at Every Woman Every Child, an initiative established by the UN Secretary-General in 2010 to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents.
She tells Dianne Penn why action is critical to achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at creating a more just and equitable world.