UN Report on Maternal Mortality Out

Report on Maternal Mortality released recently says that maternal mortality has fallen by 44 per cent since 1990, giving fresh impetus to efforts to reach by 2030 the virtual elimination of women’s chances of dying from pregnancy-related causes as part of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Maternal deaths around the world dropped from about 532,000 in 1990 to some 303,000 this year, according to the report by the World Health Organization, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund, the World Bank Group and the UN Population Division, which is part of the UN Secretariat.

The analyses are contained in Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015 – Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division.

Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth or within six weeks after birth, according to the report.

Over the past 25 years, a woman’s risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes has nearly halved.

Main Findings of Report

Globally, the MMR fell by nearly 44% over the past 25 years, to an estimated 216 (80% uncertainty interval maternal deaths per 100000 live births in 2015, from an MMR of 385 in 1990.

The annual number of maternal deaths decreased by 43% from approximately 532000 in 1990 to an estimated 303000 in 2015.

The approximate global lifetime risk of a maternal death fell considerably from 1 in 73 to 1 in 180.

Developing regions account for approximately 99% of the global maternal deaths in 2015, with sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for roughly 66%, followed by Southern Asia.

Estimated MMR declined across all MDG regions3 between 1990 and 2015, although the magnitude of the reduction differed substantially between regions.

The greatest decline over that period was observed in Eastern Asia (72%). As of 2015, the two regions with highest MMR are sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania.

At the country level, Nigeria and India are estimated to account for over one third of all maternal deaths worldwide in 2015, with an approximate 58000 maternal deaths (19%) and 45000 maternal deaths (15%), respectively.

Sierra Leone is estimated to have the highest MMR at 1360. Eighteen other countries, all in sub-Saharan Africa, are estimated to have very high MMR in 2015, with estimates ranging from 999 down to 500 deaths per 100 000 live births: Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Burundi, Gambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mauritania, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Guinea-Bissau and Kenya.

The two countries with the highest estimated lifetime risk of maternal mortality are Sierra Leone with an approximate risk of 1 in 17, and Chad with an approximate risk of 1 in 18.

The estimated lifetime risk of maternal mortality in high-income countries is 1 in 3300 in comparison with 1 in 41 in low-income countries

A new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2015, aims to help achieve the ambitious target of reducing maternal deaths to fewer than 70 per 100,000 live births globally, as included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).