(Bloomberg) -- Advances in women’s health and childhood well-being in Africa are at risk after antenatal care and immunization services were disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic, weakening the continent’s already-stretched health services, according to the World Health Organization. 

Only about 65% of births in Africa are attended by skilled health personnel. That’s the lowest in the world, and it remains well below the 2030 target of 90%, according to a WHO report released Thursday, which assesses progress toward sustainable development goals on the continent.

“For many African women, childbirth remains a persistent risk,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement. “Millions of children do not live long enough to celebrate their fifth birthday.”

By 2030, about 390 women in sub-Saharan Africa will die in childbirth for every 100,000 live births, according to the study. Europe had about 13 deaths by that measure in 2017, the last time data was reported.

The region’s infant mortality rate is now expected to be at 54 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030, more than double the target of less than 25.

“It is crucial that governments make a radical course correction,” Moeti said. “These goals aren’t mere milestones, but the very foundations of healthier life and well-being for millions of people.”

(Updates with European comparison in fourth paragraph)

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