who reports that one woman dies every two minutes during pregnancy
Last updated on February 25th, 2023 at 07:51 am
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported yesterday that a woman dies every two minutes and 287,000 die every year during pregnancy or childbirth, citing setbacks in maternal health around the globe.
Globally, maternal deaths increased or stagnated nearly everywhere from 223 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020, down from 227 in 2015 and 339 in 2000.
The leading causes of maternal death are severe bleeding, high blood pressure, pregnancy-related infections, complications from unsafe abortion, and underlying conditions that could be aggravated by pregnancy, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Over a million more women’s lives could be at risk by 2030 if progress isn’t made on global targets to reduce maternal deaths – most of which can be prevented.
WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank Group, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) produced the report on behalf of the International Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter Agency Group.
The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Pregnancy is still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions of women around the world.
As a result of stark disparities in healthcare access in many regions, he emphasized the urgent need for women and girls to have access to critical health services before, during, and after childbirth, as well as the right to exercise their reproductive rights.
Additionally, as the world slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shown that Coronavirus infections can increase pregnancy risks, the authors of the report stressed that more research is needed to determine the real impact of the global health emergency on maternal mortality.
It calculated 287,000 maternal deaths worldwide in 2020, which represents “only a slight decrease” from 309,000 in 2016, according to the WHO report “Trends In Maternal Mortality.”.
Despite countries’ commitments in 2015 to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose 2030 target is to reduce maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births, this remains the case.
Despite “some significant progress” in reducing maternal deaths between 2000 and 2015, gains stalled, or even reversed, after this point, according to the authors.
According to UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, “so many women continue to die needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth. Over 280,000 deaths are unconscionable.”
Kanem said: “We can and must do better by investing urgently in family planning and filling the global shortage of 900,000 midwives so that every woman can receive lifesaving care.” The tools, knowledge and resources are here, we just need political will to end preventable maternal deaths.
The report found that maternal deaths remain largely concentrated in poor and conflict-affected countries.
Around 70 percent of all maternal deaths will occur in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, and maternal mortality rates in nine countries suffering from severe humanitarian crises will exceed the world average (551 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births compared to 223 globally).
As the report’s authors noted, “these are all preventable and treatable with access to high-quality and respectful healthcare.” About one-third of women do not receive four of eight antenatal checks recommended and receive essential postnatal care, while more than 270 million women lack access to modern family planning methods.
The authors of the report also stressed that inequality related to income, education, race or ethnicity “further increases risks for marginalized pregnant women, who have the least access to essential maternity care but are most likely to experience underlying health problems during pregnancy.”
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