Every year, some 303,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes.
99% of these deaths occur in the developing world.
Why is this happening?
According to the World Health Organization:
“The high number of maternal deaths in some areas of the world reflects inequities in access to health services, and highlights the gap between rich and poor. Almost all maternal deaths (99%) occur in developing countries. More than half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one third occur in South Asia. More than half of maternal deaths occur in fragile and humanitarian settings.
The maternal mortality ratio in developing countries in 2015 is 239 per 100,000 live births versus 12 per 100,000 live births in developed countries. There are large disparities between countries, but also within countries, and between women with high and low income and those women living in rural versus urban areas.
The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years old and complications in pregnancy and childbirth is a leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries.
Women in developing countries have, on average, many more pregnancies than women in developed countries, and their lifetime risk of death due to pregnancy is higher. A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15 year old woman will eventually die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 4,900 in developed countries, versus 1 in 180 in developing countries. In countries designated as fragile states, the risk is 1 in 54; showing the consequences from breakdowns in health systems.”