Maternal mortality is unacceptably high. About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. It was estimated that in 2015, roughly 303 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.
Between 1990 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio (the number of maternal deaths per 100 000 live births) declined by only 2.3% per year between 1990 and 2015.
The Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health
Seeing that it is possible to accelerate the decline, countries have now united behind a new target to reduce maternal mortality even further. One target under Sustainable Development Goal 3 is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 births, with no country having a maternal mortality rate of more than twice the global average.
The high number of maternal deaths in some areas of the world reflects inequities in access to health services, and highlights the gap between rich and poor. Almost all maternal deaths (99%) occur in developing countries. More than half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.More than half of maternal deaths occur in fragile and humanitarian settings.
The maternal mortality ratio in developing countries in 2015 is 239 per 100 000 live births versus 12 per 100 000 live births in developed countries. There are large disparities between countries, but also within countries, and between women with high and low income and those women living in rural versus urban areas.
The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years old and complications in pregnancy and childbirth is a leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries.
Women in developing countries have, on average, many more pregnancies than women in developed countries, and their lifetime risk of death due to pregnancy is higher. A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15 year old woman will eventually die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 4900 in developed countries, versus 1 in 180 in developing countries. In countries designated as fragile states, the risk is 1 in 54; showing the consequences from breakdowns in health systems.
Most women die as a result of complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these complications develop during pregnancy and most are preventable or treatable. Other complications may exist before pregnancy but are worsened during pregnancy, especially if not managed as part of the woman’s care. The major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are:
- severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
- infections (usually after childbirth)
- high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
- complications from delivery
- unsafe abortion.
The remainder are caused by or associated with diseases such as malaria, and AIDS during pregnancy.
Most maternal deaths are preventable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known. All women need access to antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth. Maternal health and newborn health are closely linked. It is particularly important that all births are attended by skilled health professionals, as timely management and treatment can make the difference between life and death for both the mother and the baby.
Globally in 2015, births in the richest 20 per cent of households were more than twice as likely to be attended by skilled health personnel as those in the poorest 20 per cent of households (89 per cent versus 43 per cent). This means that millions of births are not assisted by a midwife, a doctor or a trained nurse.
In high-income countries, virtually all women have at least four antenatal care visits, are attended by a skilled health worker during childbirth and receive postpartum care. In 2015, only 40% of all pregnant women in low-income countries had the recommended antenatal care visits.
Other factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth are:
- lack of information
- inadequate services
- cultural practices.
To improve maternal health, barriers that limit access to quality maternal health services must be identified and addressed at all levels of the health system.
During the United Nations General Assembly 2015, in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, 2016-20307. The Strategy is a road map for the post-2015 agenda as described by the Sustainable Development Goals and seeks to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents and create an environment in which these groups not only survive, but thrive, and see their environments, health and wellbeing transformed.
As part of the Global Strategy and goal of Ending Preventable infant and Maternal Mortality, PMMAG, a non governmental organization wishes to visit some of these affected areas and communities, especially reaching out to the less privileged people. So we invite every individual with the same mentality to join as help eradicate this canker.
Source:. World Health Organization