Amidst meetings and celebrations to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, new data was shared: the maternal death rate, internationally, has decreased by forty percent. Unfortunately, it's not all smooth sailing yet.
That said, maternal death remains a serious problem. Globally the maternal mortality rate remains high at 210 deaths per 100,000 live births. And every year 289,000 women die from childbirth — most of them from preventable causes and almost all of them, in places with minimal resources.
Improving maternal health worldwide will require a heavy focus on sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 62 percent of annual deaths. Southern Asia is the other hotspot — a fourth of maternal deaths occur there.
But the data suggest that two countries in particular need attention: India and Nigeria. Taken together, they are the site of about one-third all global maternal deaths.
Decreasing the maternal death rate requires more health workers and attendants to do things like address profuse bleeding and infection prevention—or more money, to an extent; something that's in short supply in poor nations where high birth rates contribute to economic disparity.
Either way, some progress—and education, in particular—is better than none at all.
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