Today is Mother’s Day, and marking this important event a new study published by a number of UN agencies has found that not only has the decline in maternal mortality accelerated since 2000, but that the maternal mortality rate has dropped by 45 per cent worldwide since 1990. The report – launched by the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, The World Bank, and the United Nations Population Fund – also concludes that the number of women dying as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth have reduced from 523,000 in 1990 to an estimated 289,000 women in 2013.
Large differences between regions
However, the new figures also show considerable regional differences: 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. This is particularly the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where around two thirds (62 per cent) of all cases of maternal mortality occur – making it the riskiest region in the world for women to become pregnant and give birth. Those with the highest risk of potentially fatal complications are teenagers and women living in rural areas and who are living in poverty. Most of these deaths could be prevented: four out of five women die as a result of severe bleeding, infections, high-blood pressure, and unsafe abortions – all issues that can be avoided through good medical care.
DSW: “Time to end this terrible situation”
Renate Baehr, Executive Director, DSW, welcomed the positive trend: “The sharp decline in global maternal mortality proves measures such as voluntary family planning, the training of midwives and other health workers, and better medical care before, during, and after birth, can save the lives of hundreds of thousands women – and their children. As we celebrate mothers all around the world this weekend, the report is clear on what needs to be done: governments and international donors need to invest more in the health of pregnant women and mothers. It is a shocking statistic that over 800 women die per day due to childbirth. These are 800 deaths too many; on this special day, we owe it to all mothers, to redouble our efforts to end this terrible situation.
For more information on DSW’s activities in the area of maternal and child health, and global health in general, check out our website!
Read the full Press Release for Mother’s Day here