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Maternal deaths high in developing countries: WHO
www.chinaview.cn 2003-10-20 17:29:58

  GENEVA, Oct. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- African women are 175 times more likely to die in childbirth than women in developed regions of the world, according to new findings on maternal mortality released on Monday.

  The fundings, released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA), show that a woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, while one out of 2,800 women has the risk in the developed regions.

  Of the estimated 529,000 maternal deaths in 2000, 95 percent occurred in Africa and Asia, while only 4 percent occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, and less than 1 percent in the more developed regions of the world.

  The maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 400 per 100,000 live births globally in 2000.

  By region, it was the highest in Africa with 830 deaths per 100,000, followed by Asia, excluding Japan, with 330; Oceania, excluding Australia and New Zealand, with 240; Latin America and the Caribbean with 190 and the developed countries with 20.

  Worldwide, 13 developing countries accounted for 70 percent of all maternal deaths. The highest number occurred in India where 136,000 women died, followed by Nigeria where there were 37,000 deaths.

  According to WHO, much of this death and suffering could be avoided if all women had the assistance of a skilled health worker during pregnancy and delivery, and access to emergency medical care when complications arise.

  UNICEF experts hold that reducing maternal mortality is a key factor in ensuring that all children, especially in the world's poorest countries, survive and thrive through adolescence.

  In 2000, world leaders agreed to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015, as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

  As the focal agencies within the UN system for the health of women and children, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA pledge to enhance, both individually and jointly in collaboration with their partners, their efforts in assisting countries strengthen their maternal health programs. Enditem

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