The State of Infant and Maternal Health
By admin May 26, 2016

Mother and Happy Baby

Earlier this month the world celebrated the International Day of the Midwife and several countries worldwide celebrated Mother’s Day. However, as much as we revere motherhood, there are still hundreds of thousands of women in the world who die from childbirth simply because they lack access to life-saving medical services. There has been significant progress over the past few decades, but more is needed.

The good news is that infant deaths have nearly halved since 1990 from 8.9 million a year to 4.5 million a year in 2015, according to Medical Daily. Despite maternal deaths having dropped over 44 percent since 1990 in sub-Saharan Africa women are still 100 times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than in industrialized nations (Reuters). According to the World Health Organization, “99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.” They add, “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.”

Around 800 women and over 8,000 newborns die of preventable causes (Reuters). About 300,000 women die every year in pregnancy and childbirth and 3 million infants do not live past the first four weeks of life (UNFPA). The major causes of maternal deaths are severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, complications from delivery, and unsafe abortions (WHO). In Namibia, an estimated 1/5 of maternal deaths occurs due to abortion complications.

According to UNFPA, approximately 2/3 of maternal deaths could be averted with proper medical care, such as midwives. Unfortunately, only one in five countries have enough midwives and other skilled medical professionals to meet the needs of women and newborns (Reuters). The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health notes that it cost as little as five dollars per person to save millions of maternal and infant lives (Medical Daily).

With increased proper training of midwives and increased funding, the world could become a safer place for mothers and babies.


For more information:

Namibia: Abortion Accounts for 21 Percent of Maternal Deaths

Improving Maternal Health, Infant Mortality Would Cost Less Than $5 Per Person In Low-Income Countries

FACTBOX-10 facts about childbirth, maternal deaths and midwives

With the right tools, maternal and child health goals are within our reach

Midwives on the frontlines of fighting maternal death in Somalia

UNFPA Maternal Health

WHO: Maternal mortality

Health statistics and information systems: Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births)

2015 World Population Data Sheet


Thanks for sharing !

Comments are disabled.