Almost 300,000 women are still dying every year from complications resulting from pregnancy and childbirth. It is estimated that approximately 5 million women are left with temporary or permanent handicaps due to complications during pregnancy and/or childbirth. However, most of these complications could be avoided.
Causes of maternal mortality
Many women in developing countries have no access to medical support during childbirth. The lack of contraception also means that women are not able to prevent (further) pregnancy. This risk particularly affects young women. Moreover, women are not always in a position to negotiate the use of contraceptives. Almost half the maternal mortality rate is the result of unplanned pregnancies. Maternal mortality specifically affects women living with HIV and without access to appropriate HIV treatment.
Sustainable Development Goals
Governments have committed to improving maternal health as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end they aim to reduce maternal mortality worldwide to less than70 deaths per 100.000 live births.
In 2015 there were 216 maternal deaths per 100.000 births worldwide. In Subsahara Africa the number was twice as high, with no less than 546 maternal deaths per 100.000 births.
In the new agenda for sustainble development governments have also agreed to, by 2030, strive for universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning; health insurances for all and sexual and reproductive rights. All these 'targets' will help prevent maternal mortality.
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