Fewer women dying in childbirth

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United Nations – The Gleaner – Tuesday, 29 May 2012 (originally published 21 May)

Every two minutes, a woman dies of pregnancy-related complications, the four most common causes being severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and unsafe abortion. Ninety-nine per cent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries; most could have been prevented with proven interventions.

However, there is good news. The number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth-related complications has almost halved in 20 years, according to new estimates released last week by the World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank.

“I am very pleased to see that the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth continues to decline. This shows that the enhanced effort of countries, supported by UNFPA and other development partners, is paying off. But we can’t stop here. Our work must continue to make every pregnancy wanted and every childbirth safe,” said Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA. The report Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010, shows that from 1990 to 2010, the annual number of maternal deaths dropped from more than 543,000 to 287,000 – a decline of 47 per cent. While substantial progress has been achieved in almost all regions, many countries, particularly in subSaharan Africa, will fail to reach the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing maternal death by 75 per cent from 1990 to 2015 . . .

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