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Poorest mothers likeliest to die

20th January 2009

A UNICEF report says that the death rate among women giving birth in the world's poorest countries is 300 times higher than in the most developed countries.


In addition, many of the innovations that save the lives of birthing mothers also help newborn children to survive, because the health of the mother is tied to that of her child.

The difference between the survival rates of children in developed and undeveloped countries is also large.

In a developing country, a child is nearly 14 times more likely to die before it is one month old.

Ann Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, said that every year, more than half a million women die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth complications, including about 70,000 girls and young women aged 15 to 19.

She said that since 1990, complications related to pregnancy and childbirth have killed an estimated 10 million women.

The death rate among the young has been improved in many of the world's developing countries, and the survival rate for children under five is improving across the globe.

Between 1990 and 2007, Niger and Malawi cut their under-five death rates by 50%.

In Indonesia, it fell to nearly a third, and in Bangladesh by more than a half.

However, the number of dangers infants meet in the first 28 days of life is too high in many countries.

Mothers are at their weakest during delivery and in the days afterwards, and many are dying soon after giving birth.

Having a child is one of the most biggest risks a woman can take in the developing world.

Women in the developing world have a 1 in 76 lifetime death risk from pregnancy and complications.

By comparison, the probability of death in developed countries has reached 1 in 8,000.

Most of these deaths happen in Africa and Asia, where high fertility rates, less trained medical personnel, and underfunded health systems are all implicated in the deaths of women.

Veneman said that educating girls was pivotal to improving maternal and neonatal health, and would also benefit families and societies.

The report says that health services for pregnant women or mothers of newborn children are most effective where women's education, protection, and empowerment are all supported.

The 10 countries in the world with the highest death rates among mothers giving birth are Niger, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Chad, Angola, Liberia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali.


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Article Information

Title: Poorest mothers likeliest to die
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 9844
Date Added: 20th Jan 2009


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