MATERNAL MORTALITY – Trends in Maternal Mortality 2000-2017

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Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group, and the UN World Population Division, 2019

The United Nations Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (UN MMEIG), together with its independent external Technical Advisory Group (TAG), collaborated in developing these maternal mortality estimates. The document takes the Sustainability Development Goals as its source of a concrete goal in reducing maternal deaths. It predicts that at the current pace, despite the ambition to end preventable maternal deaths by 2030, the world will fall short of this target by more than 1 million lives with the current pace of progress.

Extensive work has been done by a wide range of people to update these statistics at both the global and regional level. What the report reveals is a continuing high numbers of maternal deaths in the world’s poorest countries and countries where armed conflict is rife. Then there are Nigeria and India, whose contribution to the total deaths is high and represents a failure to address this issue, which has nothing to do with a lack of resources. Forty years after the first report on the extent of maternal deaths, safety in pregnancy is still not a priority in many places. 

However, as 7,000 people get ready to go to Nairobi for ICPD+25, the extent of the continuing contribution of unsafe abortion to maternal deaths and morbidity is completely invisible in this report – on the cover, in its photographs of beautiful healthy very pregnant women and in the text, even though an average of one in four pregnancies worldwide ends in an induced abortion.