regular-article-logo Thursday, 08 June 2023

One woman dies every two minutes in pregnancy, childbirth: WHO

The figure represents almost 800 women dying every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy or childbirth

Deutsche Welle Published 23.02.23, 01:12 PM
The world's poorest regions saw the highest number of maternal deaths taking place

The world's poorest regions saw the highest number of maternal deaths taking place Deutsche Welle

In 2020, one woman died every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report published on Thursday.

Most of the maternal deaths take place because of severe bleeding, infections, unsafe abortions and conditions such as HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented or treated.


What the WHO found about maternal mortality rates

An estimated 287,000 women globally died from a maternal cause, equivalent to almost 800 maternal deaths every day, and approximately one every two minutes, the report said.

"While pregnancy should be a time of immense hope and a positive experience for all women, it is tragically still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions around the world," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The WHO stressed the need for women to have control over their reproductive health, especially over decisions of when and if they want to have children.

The rate of women "needlessly" dying was "unconscionable," said Natalia Kanem, head of the UN Population Fund.

The areas worst-affected by maternal mortality

As per the report, most of the maternal deaths occurred in the poorest and conflict-ridden countries of the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa reported 70% of the maternal deaths reports in 2020 where the rate is "136 times bigger" than in Australia and New Zealand, the report's author Jenny Cresswell said.

Countries like Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen, that are going through humanitarian crises, had maternal death rates twice as higher than the global average.

"Equity in healthcare gives every mother, no matter who they are or where they are, a fair chance at a safe delivery and a healthy future with their family," said Catherine Russell, executive director of the UN children's fund UNICEF.

The UN estimates that the global maternal mortality rate stood at 223 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020. One of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to reduce the rate from 339 deaths in 2000 to less than 70 by 2030.

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