Maternal Mortality is declining.
This is what evidence shows in a new report released by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and The World Bank. “Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010” states that the estimated amount of maternal deaths have decreased 47 % over two decades. The global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has declined from 400 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births to 210 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births during the same time period.
The study also looks into the reproductive health indicators, such as unmet need for contraception, use of contraception, antenatal care, and deliveries by skilled birth attendants. Globally, all of these indicators show a positive trend. However, as we have seen in other recent reports, these figures vary within regions and within countries.
Although there has been a huge decrease, with impressive figures, the development is not equal. Still over 56 % of the deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 29 % in Southern Asia. 11 countries show no progress in improving maternal health in the countries. Out of these 11 countries, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, Somalia, Lesotho, Guyana, Congo, Chad, Cameron and Botswana actually have increased levels of maternal mortality compared with the rates of twenty years earlier. Out of these countries Chad and Somalia have rates of 1000 or more maternal deaths per 100 000 live births.
A woman in Sub-Saharan Africa faces a 1 in 39 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. Yet, so many of these deaths can be prevented by simple measures.
So this brings me back the the question:
I certainly believe that it should not. We need to continue to strive towards an increased level of awareness, capacity-building and training of midwives, access to affordable essential and life-saving medicines, access to contraceptives and family-planning services, and ultimately the empowerment of women in their societies, to become equal in decision-making in the community, in the household and over their own bodies.
800 women are still dying every day during pregnancy or child-birth.
Let’s do more to save lives.
The featured image of this post is from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Blog, Impatient Optimists.