90 percent of the complications that lead to death can be avoided when women in need have access to quality prevention, diagnostic, and treatment service.
Why Saving Mothers?
A mother's death is a tragedy in and of itself, but it also unravels families and communities. Her death jeopardizes the lives of a surviving newborn and any other children she may have, as well as their likelihood of receiving healthcare and education. Her death makes it harder for the family to obtain life's necessities and escape the crush of poverty. If we can ensure a safe birth, we're one step closer to ensuring healthy and economically secure families and communities.
Maternal Death: An Unacceptable Burden
Maternal mortality – the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth or the 42 days that follow birth – remains one of the leading causes of death among women of reproductive age in developing countries. Approximately 800 women die while giving life every day. For every woman who dies, at least 20 more suffer injury, infection or disability.
More than 80 percent of maternal deaths are caused directly by complications such as severe bleeding, high blood pressure, obstructed labor and infections. Other contributory causes of maternal mortality are lack of adequate medical personnel, lack of access to healthcare facilities, and lack of transportation. HIV is also a common indirect cause of pregnancy-associated deaths in Africa.
We can do something to stop maternal mortality and, in fact, 90 percent of the complications that lead to death can be avoided when women in need have access to quality prevention, diagnostic, and treatment service.
The disparities in maternal mortality rates between countries in the developed world and the developing world are grave – 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, of which 56 percent are in sub-Saharan Africa and 29 percent are in Southern Asia.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have tragically high rates of maternal mortality. Zambia and Uganda are the first two countries for Saving Mothers, Giving Life because of their high maternal mortality ratios (total number of women who die during childbirth in relation to the total number of live births) and other factors.
In Zambia, which ranks 156 out of 180 countries for maternal deaths globally - there are an estimated 2,600 maternal and 20,400 newborn deaths every year.
Uganda also continues to struggle with terribly high numbers of women who die from pregnancy and complications of childbirth. It is estimated that there are 4,700 maternal and 35,000 newborn deaths every year - ranking Uganda 145 out of 180 countries globally.
The global health community has recognized maternal and child mortality as a priority. While substantial progress has been made to drive down maternal mortality globally in the past 20 years, the declines are insufficient. To learn more about how the global health community is addressing maternal mortality through the Millennium Development Goals, click here.