In October the World Health Organization released its estimates of the continued prevalence of maternal mortality. WHO estimates that worldwide 529,000 women die during childbirth.
Not surprisingly, 95 percent of those childbirth deaths occur in Africa and Asia, while only about 2,500 maternal deaths (less than one percent of the world total) occurred in developed countries.
In the United States, for example, the risk of dying during childbirth was 1 in 2,500. In Sweden it reached an astounding low of 1 in 29,800. But in places like Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, the risk was 1 in 6, while in Angola, Malawai and Niger the risk was 1 in 7.
In the developed world, the lifetime risk of a woman dying during childbirth as 1 in 2,800, while in developing countries it was 1 in 61. For Africa as a whole, the life time risk was 1 in 20.
Not surprisingly, the World Health Organization fond that lack of access to quality medical care was the major cause of most maternal deaths.
Africa childbirth deaths ‘unacceptable’. The BBC, October 20, 2003.
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