Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008:
a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5
Hogan MC, Foreman KJ, Naghavi M, Ahn SY, Wang M, Makela SM, Lopez AD, Lozano R, Murray CJL
The Lancet 2010; published online April 12. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60518-1.
Maternal deaths fall worldwide from a half-million annually to less than 350,000
HIV accounts for a large percentage of deaths, with most deaths concentrated in six countries
“…..April 12, 2010–The number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes has dropped by more than 35% in the past 30 years – from more than a half-million deaths annually in 1980 to about 343,000 in 2008, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and collaborators at the University of Queensland.
IHME’s research shows that deaths have been declining at an annual rate of about 1.4% since 1990. Contrary to previous reports that have shown very little change in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR), the global MMR – the number of women dying for every 100,000 live births – declined from 422 in 1980 to 320 in 1990. It reached 251 in 2008 and is on pace for further declines.
Developing countries, in particular, have made substantial progress toward the Millennium Development Goal set in 2000 of reducing the MMR. Although only 23 countries are on track to achieve the target of lowering the MMR by 75% between 1990 and 2015, countries such as
“These findings are very encouraging and quite surprising,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, Institute Director and one of the report’s co-authors. “There are still too many mothers dying worldwide, but now we have a greater reason for optimism than has generally been perceived.”
The study, Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5, appears online April 12th in The Lancet. Beginning in 2007, researchers analyzed vital registration data, censuses, surveys, and verbal autopsy studies and created new methodological tools to generate the most accurate estimates to date of maternal mortality for nearly every country.
Researchers found that progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slowed by the ongoing HIV epidemic. Nearly one out of every five maternal deaths – a total of 61,400 in 2008 – can be linked to HIV, and many of the countries with large populations affected by HIV have had the most difficulty reducing their maternal mortality ratio.
Nearly 80% of all maternal deaths are concentrated in 21 countries, and six countries account for more than half of all maternal deaths.
Eight low-income countries have seen annual increases in the MMR over the period 1990 to 2008, including
· Figure 1. Global Maternal Mortality Ratio (49k pdf*)
· Figure 2. 21 Countries with the Most Maternal Deaths (58k pdf*)
· Figure 3. Annualized Rate of Decline in MMR, 1990-2008 (194k pdf*)
· Download the slides (3M ppt)
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