WHO reports substantial dip in global maternal death


While motherhood is a buoyant and fulfilling experience, but for too many women it is associated with suffering, ill-health and even death.  A new report released by World Health Association (WHO) brings some positive news revealing that the deaths associated with complications during pregnancy and child birth has dropped by 34% from an estimated 546000 in 1990 to 358000 in 2008. Although the progress is remarkable, but the resulting 2.3% annual rate of decline is less than half of what is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75% between 1990 and 2015.  Report says that we need to do more to reduce the 1000 women deaths that still occur each day.

 About the report 
The latest report,  known as “Trends in Maternal Mortality”, is jointly released by WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank

  • Women in developing countries are 36 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than women in developed nations.
  • Developing nations accounted for 99% of all maternal deaths, with 57% in sub-Saharan Africa and 30% in South Asia.
  • The study shows progress in sub-Saharan Africa where maternal mortality decreased by 26%.
  • In Asia, the number of maternal deaths is estimated to have dropped from 315000 to 139000 between 1990 and 2008, a 52% decrease.

Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO says “Countries where women are facing a high risk of death during pregnancy or childbirth are taking measures that are proving effective; they are training more midwives, and strengthening hospitals and health centers to assist pregnant women.”


are the major reasons of maternal mortality?
Women die from a wide range of complications in pregnancy, childbirth or the postpartum period. The four major killers are: severe bleeding (mostly bleeding postpartum), infections (also mostly soon after delivery), hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (eclampsia) and obstructed labor. Complications after unsafe abortion cause 13% of maternal deaths. Globally, about 80% of maternal deaths are due to these causes.


How can maternal deaths be prevented?
We should ensure that women have access to family planning and safe abortion. This will reduce unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. And the women who continue pregnancies need care from skilled health professionals, especially at birth, when rapid treatment can make the difference between life and death

Having more access to family planning education, delivery care and meetings with health care professionals during pregnancy may help WHO to obtain their MDG target. Companies like J&J have initiated a program, Mobile Health for Women, addressing issues of pregnant women education, which compliments services like Text4Baby.  

Source: Business Week


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