Understanding Global Trends in Maternal Mortality

Sarah Zureick, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Doris Chou, World Health Organization (WHO)
Nobuko Mizoguchi, University of Colorado at Boulder
Holly Newby, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Lale Say, World Health Organization (WHO)
Emi Suzuki, World Bank Group
John R. Wilmoth, University of California, Berkeley

A recent report by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the World Bank describing trends in maternal mortality suggested that the number of maternal deaths declined worldwide from approximately 546,000 deaths in 1990 to 358,000 in 2008, a 34% decline over this period. Similarly, it was estimated the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) for the world as a whole declined by 34% over this period, falling from 400 to 260 (maternal deaths per 100,000 live births). Although the annual rate of decline in the global MMR (2.3%) fell short of the level needed to meet the targeted three-quarters reductions of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG 5), this estimated rate of reduction is much faster than had been thought previously. In this paper, we describe briefly the data and methods used to develop the new estimates and offer a more detailed analysis of the estimated trends on a global and regional level.

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Presented in Session 166: Maternal Mortality: Trends and Correlates