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​Maternal mortality halved but much remains to be done

In the past 25 years maternal mortality in the world has almost halved but only nine countries have reached the objectives set by the United Nations, as the report disseminated by the UN agencies testifies. Indeed, by the end of 2015, maternal mortality will have been reduced by 44 per cent in comparison with the 1990 levels. This enormous (and slow) progress is, however, unequal in its distribution: 99 per cent of the deaths were in fact recorded in the so-called developing countries. The goal was to reduce them by 75 per cent, but only Bhutan, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Iran, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Rwanda and East Timor reached it. Instead, another 39 countries recorded progress described as “important”. According to a study published in the British journal, The Lancet, in 2015 there were 303,000 women who died from complications during pregnancy, in child-birth or in the first weeks after giving birth, in comparison with the 532,000 deaths recorded in 1990. Today it is estimated that there were 216 deaths per every 100,000 births as opposed to the 385 in 1990. The most significant progress was recorded in East Asia, with a decrease in maternal mortality of 72 per cent. The region of the world where the situation is most dramatic remains Sub-Saharan Africa; 66 per cent of the cases were reported here, in other words two out of three deaths in the world. Here too, nonetheless, one step ahead has been taken: indeed, in the past 25 years the region has recorded an almost 45 per cent decrease in deaths which have fallen from 987 per 100,000 to 546. In short, much has been done but much has yet to be done to hit the new target for 2030 established by the United Nations last September: to reach a ratio of 70 deaths per 100,000 births




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 21, 2020