Report from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division highlights progress
NEW YORK/GENEVA/WASHINGTON, 12 November 2015 – Maternal mortality has fallen by 44% since 1990, United Nations agencies and the World Bank Group reported today.
Maternal deaths around the world dropped from about 532,000 in 1990 to an estimated 303,000 this year, according to the report, the last in a series that has looked at progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This equates to an estimated global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 216 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, down from 385 in 1990.
Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth or within 6 weeks after birth.
“The MDGs triggered unprecedented efforts to reduce maternal mortality,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health. “Over the past 25 years, a woman’s risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes has nearly halved. That’s real progress, although it is not enough. We know that we can virtually end these deaths by 2030 and this is what we are committing to work towards.”
Achieving that goal will require much more effort, according to Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. “Many countries with high maternal death rates will make little progress, or will even fall behind, over the next 15 years if we don’t improve the current number of available midwives and other health workers with midwifery skills,” he said. “If we don’t make a big push now, in 2030 we’ll be faced, once again, with a missed target for reducing maternal deaths.”
The analyses contained in Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015 – Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division are being published today in the medical journal The Lancet.