UNFPA in the News
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17Sep/10Off

GLOBAL: COVERAGE ON “TRENDS IN MATERNAL MORTALITY” REPORT

IRIN reported on 16 September that the proportion of women in sub-Saharan Africa who died because of pregnancy fell by more than a quarter between 1990 and 2008, according to estimates released on 15 September. In 1990, the maternal mortality ratio was 870 per 100,000 live births in sub-Saharan Africa, the worst rate of any region in the world. In 2008, it was 640, according to data published jointly by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank. Read: IRIN

BRAZIL: Agencia Brasil reported on 15 September that the number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34 per cent between 1990 and 2008. The figures were presented in the new report, "Trends in Maternal Mortality," released by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank. UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid was quoted stressing that governments and civil society organizations must ensure that every woman has a safe pregnancy and every pregnancy is wanted. According to her, the training of health workers must be stimulated, and adequate funding for reproductive health services must be provided. Read in Portuguese: Agencia Brasil

CAMBODIA: Phnom Penh Post reported on 17 September that a report produced by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank listed Cambodia as one of seven countries with high maternal mortality rates outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, which, as a region, accounted for nearly three-fifths of maternal deaths globally. Also listed were Afghanistan, Laos, Nepal, East Timor, Bangladesh and Haiti. Sarah Knibbs, UNFPA Representative in Cambodia, said that the figures used in the report had referred to government data, but that they had been “adjusted to a level that makes them comparable globally.” She added that the maternal mortality rate was one of the most difficult MDG indicators to measure reliably. Read: Phnom Penh Post

CHINA: Xinhua reported on 17 September on new figures published in this year's "Levels & Trends in Child Mortality" report issued by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, noting that earlier in the week, a new report by UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA and the World Bank found that the number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34 per cent from an estimated 546,000 in 1990 to 358,000 in 2008. Read: Xinhua

INDIA: The Times of India reported on 15 September that though India has seen a dramatic fall in its maternal mortality rate, by 59 per cent between 1990 and 2008, the country is still home to the highest number of women dying during childbirth in the world. India's maternal mortality ratio stood at 570 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990, which fell to 470 in 1995, 390 in 2000, 280 in 2005 and 230 in 2008. India, which has seen an annual decrease of MMR by 4.9 per cent since 1990, now records 63,000 maternal deaths a year according to the latest report, " Trends in Maternal Mortality," released jointly by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and World Bank.  Read: The Times of India

Sify reported on 15 September that Asia's maternal mortality rate declined by 52 per cent in the last two decades – compared to a 34 per cent decline globally. In Asia, the number of maternal deaths is estimated to have dropped from 315,000 to 139,000 between 1990-2008, the report, “Trends in Maternal Mortality” by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank.  Read: Sify

KENYA: Capital FM reported on 15 September that a new report by international health bodies on Wednesday indicated that maternal deaths have dropped by a third globally. According to UNICEF, the World Bank, WHO and UNFPA, “The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34 percent.” Read: Capital FM

PARAGUAY: ABC and La Nacion, reported on 19 September that it is necessary to further strengthen and implement measures on achieving the Millennium Development Goal 5. The estimated number of women who die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in 2008 decreased by 34 per cent from 546,000 in 1990 to 358,000 in 2008, according to the report “Trends in Maternal Mortality”, released by WHO, UNFPA and others.  Read in Spanish: ABC and La Nacion

UNITED STATES: CNN reported on 15 September that the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth has dropped by a third in the past two decades, according to a report from four world bodies. UNICEF and WHO issued the report together with the World Bank and UNFPA. Read: CNN

The Huffington Post published a blog by Anika Rahman, President of Americans for UNFPA on 15 September reflecting on the new report, "Trends in Maternal Mortality" released by UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank. She wrote, “I am reminded of women like Veronica Komba from Tanzania, whose story was recently featured in UNFPA's Mothers Saved. At the age of 14, Veronica was left homeless, hungry and pregnant. She came very close to death after collapsing in her village from high blood pressure, but her life was spared, primarily because she was able to access transportation to a hospital. A local women's group paid for the vehicle that transported Veronica 60 km to the nearest hospital for the C-Section that saved her life. Giving birth is especially risky in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without any access to skilled care. It doesn't have to be this way. With greater access to perinatal care, most maternal deaths could be avoided. We can live in a world where no woman dies in childbirth.”  Read: The Huffington Post

Medical News Today reported on 15 September that the total number of deaths of women worldwide caused by childbirth or complications during pregnancy fell by 34 per cent between 1990 and 2008, according to Trends in Maternal Mortality, a report released by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Executive Director of UNFPA, said, “Every birth should be safe and every pregnancy wanted. The lack of maternal health care violates women's rights to life, health, equality, and non-discrimination. MDG5 can be achieved," she adds, "but we urgently need to address the shortage of health workers and step up funding for reproductive health services.” Read: Medical News Today

The Iowa Independent reported on 15 September that estimates show that it is possible to prevent many more women from dying. “Every birth should be safe and every pregnancy wanted,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of UNFPA. “The lack of maternal health care violates women’s rights to life, health, equality and non-discrimination. … [W]e urgently need to address the shortage of health workers and step up funding for reproductive health services.” Read: The Iowa Independent

UPI reported on 16 September that death for women during childbirth or from complications during pregnancy dropped by 34 per cent from 1990 to 2008, World Health Organization officials said. The report released by the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank said the progress is notable but the annual rate of decline is less than half of what is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 per cent from 1990 to 2015 -- requiring an annual decline of 5.5 percent. Read: UPI

US News and World Report reported on 15 September that the number of women worldwide who die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased 34 per cent in the past 20 years, but more needs to be done to reduce the 1,000 maternal deaths that still occur each day, says a new report. While that 34 per cent decrease is encouraging, it works out to an average annual decline of 2.3 percent, less than half of the average 5.5 per cent annual decline required to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of a 75 per cent reduction between 1990 and 2015. In 2008, about 1,000 pregnant women died each day from four major causes: severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion. Of those 1,000 women, 570 were in sub-Saharan Africa, 300 in South Asia, and five in high-income countries. Women in developing countries are 36 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than women in developed nations, said the report, released by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank.

UGANDA: The New Vision reported on 15 September that while maternal health in Uganda has improved over the last 20 years with fewer mothers dying from pregnancy-related complications, the country’s maternal mortality rate remains high. According to a report by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, Uganda’s maternal mortality ratio has fallen from 670 deaths per 100,000 live births, to 430 deaths per 100,000 live births. Read: The New Vision

UK: The Guardian featured a blog by Health Editor Sarah Boseley on 15 September reporting that a report by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank shows maternal mortality has dropped by a third. It's official. The numbers of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth have been coming down. WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank put their hefty collective weight behind a set of figures that shows maternal mortality has dropped by a third since 1990. The half a million number that has been almost a mantra for campaigners for decades is no more. Read: The Guardian

UZBEKISTAN: UzReport reported on 15 September that the number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34 per cent from an estimated 546,000 in 1990 to 358,000 in 2008, according to a new report, "Trends in Maternal Mortality." "Every birth should be safe and every pregnancy wanted," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Executive Director of UNFPA. "The lack of maternal health care violates women's rights to life, health, equality, and non-discrimination. MDG5 can be achieved," she added, "but we urgently need to address the shortage of health workers and step up funding for reproductive health services."

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