WHO: One Woman Dies Every Two Minutes During Pregnancy or Childbirth

    WHO: One Woman Dies Every Two Minutes During Pregnancy or Childbirth
    Last updated Feb 23, 2023
    Image credit: The Hindu


    • According to a World Health Organization report released on Thursday, one woman worldwide dies every two minutes during pregnancy or childbirth — mostly from treatable conditions.
    • The report — which tracked maternal deaths nationally, regionally, and globally from 2000 to 2020 — found that there were an estimated 800 deaths every day in 2020.
    • Though the overall maternal mortality rate dropped by 34.3% over the two decades monitored — going from 339 maternal deaths per 100K live births in 2000 to 223 maternal deaths in 2020 — after 2015, the rates either increased or remained the same in nearly all regions of the world.
    • However, maternal deaths continue to be largely concentrated in the world’s most impoverished regions, and the countries most impacted by conflict — about 70% of all maternal deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Meanwhile, in the US, maternal mortality rates have increased by 75% over the past 20 years — from roughly 12 maternal deaths per 100K live births in 2000 to 21 maternal deaths per 100K live births.
    • The report noted that the leading causes of maternal deaths included severe bleeding, high blood pressure, pregnancy-related infections, and complications from unsafe abortions.


    Narrative A

    Leaders of the global public health community must recognize that reproductive rights are human rights and that every government must ensure access to high-quality critical health services before, during, and after childbirth. It's time to step up funding, training, and improving supply chains to reduce the maternal mortality rate worldwide.

    Narrative B

    While it's critical that women have control over their reproductive health, issues related to income inequality, family planning, education, race, and ethnicity marginalize pregnant women more than the lack of health care services or preventable conditions in pregnancy. Solving the global crisis requires a new look at the entire holistic environment that impacts women — not only providing access to health care.

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