New Internationalist

Maternal Mortality - The Facts

Issue 420

There is a bigger gulf in experience between the Global North and the Global South in maternal death rates than there is on any other human development measure. The average lifetime risk of maternal death in the rich world is 1 in 8,000, compared with 1 in 850 in developing countries and 1 in 450 in least developed countries.

The countries where mothers are most (and least) at risk

The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) shows deaths per 100,000 live births; the lifetime risk also takes into account the fertility rate.

 

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Over 84% of maternal deaths occur in Africa and South Asia

Maternal mortality ratios per 100,000 live births (2005). Click to enlarge...

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Skilled birth attendance

This map shows the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel around the world in the 2000-06 period. Note how similar it is to the map of maternal mortality rates on the facing page – making sure that all births are overseen by health workers is the single most important means of preventing maternal and newborn deaths.

This map shows the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel around the world in the 2000-06 period. Note how similar it is to the map of maternal mortality rates on the facing page – making sure that all births are overseen by health workers is the single most important means of preventing maternal and newborn deaths.. Click to enlarge...

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Why do women die giving birth?

Haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death in both Africa and Asia.

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Most mothers who die come from just 10 countries

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This article was originally published in issue 420

New Internationalist Magazine issue 420
Issue 420

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