New Research: Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980—2008

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 13, 2010

Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980—2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5. The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 12 April 2010 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60518-1

  • “Maternal mortality remains a major challenge to health systems worldwide. Reliable information about the rates and trends in maternal mortality is essential for resource mobilisation, and for planning and assessment of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG 5), the target for which is a 75% reduction in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 1990 to 2015. We assessed levels and trends in maternal mortality for 181 countries…We estimated that there were 342 900 (uncertainty interval 302 100—394 300) maternal deaths worldwide in 2008, down from 526 300 (446 400—629 600) in 1980. The global MMR decreased from 422 (358—505) in 1980 to 320 (272—388) in 1990, and was 251 (221—289) per 100 000 livebirths in 2008. The yearly rate of decline of the global MMR since 1990 was 1·3% (1·0—1·5). During 1990—2008, rates of yearly decline in the MMR varied between countries, from 8·8% (8·7—14·1) in the Maldives to an increase of 5·5% (5·2—5·6) in Zimbabwe. More than 50% of all maternal deaths were in only six countries in 2008 (India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In the absence of HIV, there would have been 281 500 (243 900—327 900) maternal deaths worldwide in 2008.”
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