New York -- Amnesty International today urged countries to urgently step up efforts to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth, saying while new United Nations figures show some progress toward reducing maternal deaths worldwide, the numbers remain too high to meet a key global target to save more lives.
The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth decreased from an estimated 546 000 in 1990 to 358 000 in 2008, according to a report issued by several United Nations agencies.
But the figures show that the annual rate of decline in maternal mortality is less than half of that needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent between 1990 and 2015.
“Although a woman is no longer dying every minute, according to the new statistics one woman is still dying every minute and a half”, said Widney Brown, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for International Law and Policy.
“Amnesty International welcomes the progress that has been made but the fact remains that hundreds and thousands of women die every year in pregnancy and childbirth, though these deaths are preventable.”
“No women should die while giving birth, when such deaths are preventable. Governments need to do much more to ensure that the most disadvantaged and poorest women have equal and timely access to life saving care.”
The new figures were published as heads of states prepare to meet and review progress on the MDGs at a United Nations summit in New York next week (Monday through Wednesday).
“Governments need to intensify their efforts to ensure that all women enjoy their rights to maternal, sexual and reproductive health and choice. said Brown.
Maternal Deaths in the United States
Amnesty International released a report this year in the United States, "Deadly Delivery," that showed the rates of maternal deaths in the United States have not improved in 20 years. American women have a greater lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications than women in 40 other countries. Two to three women die every day in the United States from pregnancy-related complications -- half of these deaths are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control -- and more than 34,000 women nearly die each year, many due to disparities in maternal health care that the government is ignoring, African American women are nearly four times more likely to die than white women. To read the full report, CLICK HERE
The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank has released a new report, Trends in maternal mortality. The report highlighted that the 34 per cent decline since 1990 represents an average annual decline of just 2.3 per cent, falling short of the 5.5 per cent decline needed to meet the target and indicating that most countries around the world will miss the 2015 target.
Amnesty International is campaigning on maternal mortality under the Demand Dignity campaign, which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign will mobilise people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and others who have power listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and protect their rights. F
The MDGs, which remain the most prominent global initiative to address poverty, were drawn from the Millennium Declaration adopted 10 years ago and agreed by world leaders who committed to achieving the targets by 2015.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.