Fewer Women Dying in Childbirth Worldwide

GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 16 (UPI) — The death for women during childbirth or from complications during pregnancy dropped by 34 percent from 1990 to 2008, World Health Organization officials said.

The report released by the WHO, UNICEF, the U.N. Population Fund and the World Bank said the progress is notable but the annual rate of decline is less than half of what is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent from 1990 to 2015 — requiring an annual decline of 5.5 percent.

The 34 percent decline since 1990 translates into an average annual decline of just 2.3 percent, the report says.

“The global reduction in maternal death rates is encouraging news,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO, said in a statement. “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.”

During pregnancy, women die from four major causes — severe bleeding after childbirth, infection, hypertensive disorder and unsafe abortion, the report said.

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