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Reducing maternal mortality, the millennium goal

If I told you that worldwide, the number of mothers who died during pregnancy dropped has dropped by 1/3 in the past 18 years, I hope you would say “that’s great!”

Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer of unicefusa.org

If I told you that worldwide, the number of mothers who died during pregnancy dropped has dropped by 1/3 in the past 18 years, I hope you would say “that’s great!”

It is. But it’s not enough.

358,000 pregnant women died of complications in 2008 – more than 1,000 a day. Most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.


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UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0819/Asselin
A nurse accompanies a pregnant woman during a transportation test run in a UNICEF-sponsored motorcycle ambulance.

When world leaders at the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 10 years ago, #5 on the list was to reduce maternal mortality by 75%. There are just 5 years to go until 2015, the deadline for the MDG’s … and that’s why we can’t afford to rest at a 34% decline.

Yes, progress is great. But more countries need to implement the programs that have already proved effective – training midwives, strengthening health care systems, lowering and abolishing hospital fees. No woman should die because she can’t get pregnancy care.

Learn more about all the UN MDG’s, and watch for more news as policy makers and leaders gather for a high-level Summit on the Millennium Development Goals next week at the U.N.

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