Maternal Health

  • March 23, 2016
  • News

Maternal health is a serious issue in many countries around the world. There are complications and deaths due to poor maternal health that could be prevented with more access to skilled and emergency care. According to WHO, nearly 830 women die every day due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth, which means almost 303,000 women worldwide in one year. In developing countries, poor maternal health is only preceded by HIV/AIDs in the leading causes of deaths among women of reproductive age.
Maternal health reflects the disparity between the rich and the poor, as less than 1% of maternal deaths occur in high income countries according to WHO. Deaths related to maternal health are also higher in rural areas and among poorer and less educated communities. Rates are high in sub-Saharan Africa (550 each day), and Southern Asia (190 each day), relative to high-income countries (8 each day). Lack of maternal care is directly linked with high rates of maternal mortality. This is evident in sub-Saharan Africa, where less than 50% of women have trained personnel to assist them while giving birth.

In Tanzania specifically, progress has been made in trying to achieve the Millennial Development Goals, or now the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations. Yet, there is still much progress to be made. UNICEF shows that in Tanzania maternal mortality is 454 for every 100,000 live births, delivery in health facilities is 51%, and infant mortality is 51 out of every 100,000 live births. These numbers have dropped significantly over the past decade, yet many of these deaths are preventable with access to clean facilities and trained workers.

The United Nations and many organizations working in the field are still striving to lower these easily preventable deaths and infections caused by poor maternal health care. Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ration to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030, with no country having a maternal mortality rate twice the global average.

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