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Good news: Fewer maternal and child deaths

Since 1990, annual maternal deaths have declined by almost one half and the deaths of young children have declined from 12 million to 7.6 million in 2010.

Some of the world's poorest countries have achieved spectacular progress in reducing child deaths. Rates of child mortality in many African countries have been dropping twice as fast in recent years as during the 1990s. In Botswana, Egypt, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania, the rate of decline was on average 5 percent or more a year between 2000 and 2010.

Similar progress has been seen in reducing maternal deaths, although in fewer developing countries: Equatorial Guinea, Nepal, and Vietnam have each cut maternal deaths by 75 percent.

But all the news is not good. Every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and her newborn baby's chances of survival are very poor. For every woman who dies, an additional 20-30 suffer significant and sometimes lifelong problems, as a result of their pregnancy.

In these same two minutes nearly 30 young children die of disease and illness that could have been prevented or effectively treated.

Many countries, especially in Africa and South Asia, are not making progress. Of the 75 countries with the highest burden of maternal and child mortality, 25 have made insufficient or no progress in reducing maternal deaths and 13 show no progress in reducing the number of young children who die.

"Global efforts to save the lives of women, newborn babies and young children are not moving fast enough," says Mickey Chopra, M.D., PhD., chief health officer of United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) and co-chair of the Countdown to 2015 initiative. "Some countries are showing us what success looks like, but many other countries still have to learn the lessons of those successes."

Progress on maternal, newborn and child health, in the 75 highest-burden co

Contact: Marshall Hoffman
Hoffman & Hoffman Worldwide

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