African mother baby -by UNFPA Sawiche WamunzaThe number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth related complications has almost halved in 20 years, according to a new joint U.N. report released yesterday.

From 1990 to 2010, the annual number of maternal deaths dropped from more than 543,000 to 287,000 – a decline of 47 percent.

The report, “Trends in maternal mortality”, a collaboration between the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank, shows that almost every region of the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal death by 75 percent from 1990 to 2015.

Ten countries have already reached the MDG target: Belarus, Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Iran, Lithuania, Maldives, Nepal, Romania and Viet Nam. Eastern Asia has made the greatest progress in preventing maternal deaths.

“We know exactly what to do to prevent maternal deaths: improve access to voluntary family planning, invest in health workers with midwifery skills, and ensure access to emergency obstetric care when complications arise. These interventions have proven to save lives and accelerate progress towards meeting the Millennium Goal,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.

(Source: The United Nations)

Photo by UNFPA Sawiche Wamunza

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