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Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care from 1990 to 2005: Uneven but Important Gains
Authors: Iqbal H Shah, Lale Say
Source: Reproductive Health Matters, Volume 15, Issue 30, November 2007, Pages 17-27, doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(07)30339-X
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Maternal mortality
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: NOV 2007
Abstract: Maternal mortality continues to be the major cause of death among women of reproductive age in many countries. Data from published studies and Demographic and Health Surveys show that gains in reducing maternal mortality between 1990 and 2005 have been modest overall. In 2005, there were about 536,000 maternal deaths, and the maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 400 per 100,000 live births, compared to 430 in 1990. Noteworthy declines took place in east Asia (4% per year) and north Africa (3% per year). Maternal deaths and mortality ratios were highest in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia and low in east Asia and Latin America/Caribbean. In 11 of 53 countries with data, fewer than 25% of women had had at least four antenatal visits. About 63% of births were attended by a skilled attendant: from 47% in Africa to 88% in Latin America/Caribbean. In 16 of 23 countries with data, less than 50% of the recommended levels of emergency obstetric care had been fulfilled. Only 61% of women who delivered in a health facility in 30 developing countries received post-partum care, and far fewer who gave birth at home. Countries with maternal mortality ratios of 750+ per 100,000 live births shared problems of high fertility and unplanned pregnancies, poor health infrastructure with limited resources and low availability of health personnel. The task ahead is enormous. Keywords: maternal mortality; antenatal care; skilled birth attendance; emergency obstetric care; post-partum care; contraceptive prevalence