Intended for healthcare professionals


Maternal health is now deteriorating in much of the world, UN report shows

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 24 February 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:p454
  1. Luke Taylor
  1. Bogotá

The World Health Organization has warned that maternal health has been declining in many parts of the world since 2016, halting 15 years of progress.

A report1 by WHO on behalf of UN agencies, published on 23 February, said that while maternal deaths are largely preventable with quality healthcare, they have either increased or stagnated in most regions of the world in the past five years.

On average, a woman currently dies during pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes.

“While pregnancy should be a time of immense hope and a positive experience for all women, it is still a dangerous experience for millions around the world who lack access to high quality, respectful healthcare,” said WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The report collates health data provided by countries from 2000 to 2020, broken down at a national and regional level.

The number of maternal deaths—fatalities because of complications from pregnancy or childbirth when a woman is pregnant or within …

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