UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- A growing understanding of the role of family planning and the spread of contraception use resulting from greater access to reproductive healthcare is helping to save lives in Guinea-Bissau, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said on Wednesday.
Some 500,000 women die every year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, almost entirely in developing countries, leaving around 1 million children without mothers.
According to UNFPA, one in 13 women in Guinea-Bissau die from pregnancy-related causes, compared to one in 17,400 in Sweden, for example.
The agency noted that providing access to modern contraception could prevent around 40 percent of maternal deaths worldwide, saving the lives of many women in Guinea-Bissau.
With 98 out of 114 health centers in Guinea-Bissau now offering family planning services, around 10 percent of women use contraception which -- while low -- is an improvement, said Antonieta Martins, UNFPA adviser to the Ministry of Health in the west African country.
In Guinea-Bissau, UNFPA helps fund the provision of free contraception nationwide, trains health workers on family planning and reproductive health and advises the Health Ministry.