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Pregnancy-Related Deaths Fall Worldwide: Report

WEDNESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- The number of women worldwide who died from pregnancy-related complications each year fell from 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010, according to a new report.

It also found that child death rates in many African countries have dropped 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 an average of 5 percent or more a year between 2000 and 2010, according to the report released June 13 by the Countdown to 2015 Initiative, an international research and advocacy group.

Similar progress has occurred in reducing pregnancy-related deaths in certain developing countries. For example, maternal deaths fell by 75 percent in Equatorial Guinea, Nepal and Vietnam.

Despite this good news, too many women and children are still dying, according to the report written by an international group of academics and professionals.

Every two minutes, a woman somewhere in the world dies from complications of pregnancy and her newborn's chances of survival are poor. For every woman who dies, another 20 to 30 women suffer major and sometimes lifelong problems due to pregnancy.

Also every two minutes, nearly 30 young children die of disease and illness that could have been prevented or treated.

The report also noted that many countries in Africa and South Asia are not making progress. Of the 75 countries with the highest rates of maternal and child deaths, 25 have made insufficient or no progress in reducing maternal deaths and 13 have made no progress in reducing child deaths.

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

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the Countdown to 2015 Initiative.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Countdown to 2015 Initiative, news release, June 11, 2012

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