Statistics about maternal health have been receiving much media attention lately, and deservedly so; earlier this year, researchers reported a significant drop worldwide in the number of women dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank announced in a new report, “Trends in Maternal Mortality” that the number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34% since 1990.
In direct response to the tireless efforts of women’s health advocates all around the globe, we are making some strides towards ensuring healthier outcomes for the world’s women.
But much work remains to be done. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 has aimed to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between the years 2000 and 2015. The rate of maternal deaths has been reduced by 2.3% per year since 1990, but now needs to be reduced by 5.5% for each of the next five years in order to meet this goal.
In order to continue the trend of decreased maternal deaths at the rate necessary to achieve MDG 5, women must have access to a comprehensive range of services, including contraception, maternity care, safe abortion, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, along with comprehensive sexuality education and protection of their human rights.
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