A woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes: UN

UNITED NATIONS (APP): Maternal health setbacks in many parts of the world have contributed to the worrying finding that a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth around every two minutes, UN agencies have said.
According to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) released on February 23, maternal deaths have either increased or stagnated nearly everywhere, from 223 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020, down from 227 in 2015 and 339 in 2000.
Unless progress is made on global targets for reducing maternal deaths – most of which are preventable – the lives of over one million more women by 2030 could be at risk, the WHO warned. “Pregnancy … is tragically still a shockingly dangerous experience for millions around the world who lack access to high quality, respectful health care,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said in a statement. Tedros highlighted stark disparities in healthcare access in many regions and the urgent need “to ensure every woman and girl has access to critical health services before, during and after childbirth, and that they can fully exercise their reproductive rights”.
Furthermore, as the world slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic which has highlighted that coronavirus infections can increase risks during pregnancy, the report’s authors stressed that more research will be needed to show the true impact of the global health emergency on maternal deaths. The WHO-produced report, Trends In Maternal Mortality, tracked maternal deaths nationally, regionally and globally from 2000 to 2020. It calculated 287,000 maternal deaths worldwide in 2020, which represented “only a slight decrease” from 309,000, in 2016. This was the case despite countries’ pledges in 2015 to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose target is less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. Although the report indicated “some significant progress” in reducing maternal deaths between 2000 and 2015, gains largely stalled, or in some cases even reversed, after this point, its authors said. Responding to the report’s findings, the UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem expressed alarm that “so many women continue to die needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth.