Health Policy

India tops in rate of maternal deaths globally

India and Nigeria together accounted for a third of the deaths of pregnant women globally in 2010, latest UN figures said, even as maternal deaths declined by nearly half in the past two decades due to improvement in health systems and increased female education.


Globally, an estimated 287,000 women died in pregnancy and childbirth in 2010, a decline of 47 per cent from levels in 1990, with Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounting for 85 per cent of the those maternal deaths, according to a report on trends in maternal mortality between 1990 to 2010 released by UN Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organisation, UN Children’s Fund and the World Bank.

At the country level, India and Nigeria accounted for a third of global maternal deaths, with India at 19 per cent (56,000) and Nigeria at 14 per cent (40,000).

The global Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in 2010 was 210 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, down from 400 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990. Another eight countries — Democratic Republic of the Congo (15,000), Pakistan (12,000), Sudan (10,000), Indonesia (9,600), Ethiopia (9,000), Tanzania (8,500), Bangladesh (7,200) and Afghanistan (6,400) — account for the nearly 40 per cent of the global maternal deaths.


The report said every two minutes a woman dies of pregnancy-related complications like severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy and unsafe abortion.

However there has been some progress in providing improved healthcare to pregnant women which has resulted in the deaths being cut by half over the past two decades, the report added.

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