Eleven countries accounted for almost 65 per cent of global maternal deaths in 2005. India had the largest number (117,000), followed by Nigeria (59,000), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (32,000) and Afghanistan (26,000).
The probability that a 15-year-old girl will die from a complication related to pregnancy and childbirth during her lifetime is highest in Africa: 1 in 26. In the developed regions it is 1 in 7,300. Of all 171 countries and territories for which estimates were made, Niger had the highest estimated lifetime risk of 1 in 7.
The maternal mortality ratio indicates the risk of death a woman faces with each pregnancy. In settings with high fertility, such as sub-Saharan Africa, women face this risk many times in their lifetime.
To achieve MDG 5 and reduce the maternal mortality ratio by 75 per cent before 2015, improving health care for women and providing universal access to reproductive health services must be prioritized. This includes access to family planning, prevention of unplanned pregnancies and provision of high-quality pregnancy and delivery care, including emergency obstetric care.
However, health services can only help when women are able to make use of them. When obstetric emergencies arise during pregnancy and delivery, the importance of recognizing danger signs and seeking care quickly is critical. Transportation must be available, and appropriately staffed and equipped facilities must be within reach. Increasing female education, improving gender equality, and strengthening empowerment for making decisions about seeking care are essential elements of strategies to reduce maternal mortality.
|SOURCE World Health Organization; UNICEF; UNFPA; The World Bank|
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