-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The number of women
worldwide who die from complications during pregnancy and
childbirth has decreased 34 percent in the past 20 years, but more
needs to be done to reduce the 1,000 maternal deaths that still
occur each day, says a report released Wednesday.
The estimated number of maternal deaths declined from 546,000 in
1990 to 358,000 in 2008. While that 34 percent decrease is
encouraging, it works out to an average annual decline of 2.3
percent, which is less than half of the average 5.5 percent annual
decline required to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target
of a 75 percent reduction between 1990 and 2015.
In 2008, about 1,000 pregnant women died each day from four
major causes: severe bleeding after childbirth, infections,
hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion. Of those 1,000 women,
570 were in sub-Saharan Africa, 300 in South Asia, and five in
Women in developing countries are 36 times more likely to die of
pregnancy-related complications than women in developed nations,
said the report, released by the World Health Organization, the
United Nation's Children's Fund, the United Nations Population
Fund, and the World Bank.
Among the other findings:
"The global reduction in maternal deaths is encouraging news," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in an agency news release. "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. No woman should die due to inadequate access to family planning and to pregnancy and delivery care."
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the news release:
"To achieve our global goal of improving maternal health and to
save women's lives we need to do more to reach those who are most
at risk. That means reaching women in rural areas and poorer
households, women from ethnic minorities and indigenous groups, and
women living with HIV and in conflict zones."
The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more
health problems in pregnancy.
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