Unicef calls for more action to reduce maternal deaths in developing world

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 22 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1800
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    Progress has been “far too slow,” and interventions must be scaled up to reduce maternal deaths, a Unicef report says.

    Each year more than half a million women die through complications in pregnancy and childbirth, with more than 99% of deaths that occur in poor countries, says the report. Each year an estimated 10 million women also experience injuries, infections, disease, or disability, which can cause lifelong suffering, it adds.

    “Most of these deaths and disabilities are avoidable. Where deliveries are overseen by skilled health personnel and access to emergency obstetrical care, and where women receive adequate nutrition and basic health care services, the risk of maternal death is less,” said Ann Veneman, Unicef’s executive director.

    “The causes of maternal mortality are clear, as are the means to combat them,” said Peter Salama, Unicef’s chief of health. “Yet women continue to die …

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