The maternal mortality of women throughout the world is a major concern for global health organizations and governments, yet it remains a largely forgotten issue. Despite the advances of healthcare, the number of women who die from pregnancy and childbirth complications that could have been prevented remains alarmingly high. The World Health Organization estimates that 289,000 women died from pregnancy-related causes in 2013.
According to organizations under the United Nations, the maternal mortality rate is very high, something really unacceptable in the 21st century. In 2020 alone, 287,000 mothers died worldwide during gestation, in childbirth or after childbirth. The major concern is that most of these deaths could have been prevented.
The SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals help to detect where the problem is exacerbated.
To find out the global distribution of regions and subregions where maternal mortality is highest, the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are applied. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are the regions with the highest incidence in the global index, with 87% of deaths. Considering that Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounts for 70% of the total with 202,000 deaths.
However, some regions managed to reduce the maternal mortality rate, as in Eastern Europe and the already named South Asia. In these regions the percentage decreased the most, with a 70% reduction (from 38 deaths per year to 11). Eastern Africa, Central Asia, East Asia, North Africa and Western Europe also reduced maternal deaths by a third.
What are the causes that lead to maternal mortality?
This high number of maternal mortality indicates that in some regions of the world, inequalities in access to health care are very large. There are countries that have good health systems, and there are others that practically lack this benefit. The big difference is marked by the large gap between wealth and poverty, which in many regions is extreme.
The indices are significant. In lower income countries, there were 430 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. While in higher wage countries, there were only 12 deaths per 100,000 live births.
According to these UN agencies, mothers die from complications during gestation, in childbirth or postpartum. Most cases can be prevented and even avoid the fatal outcome. Seventy-five percent of maternal deaths are caused by:
- Severe hemorrhage after childbirth.
- Infections, almost always postpartum
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsia (arterial hypertension during gestation).
- Complicated deliveries
- Illegally performed abortions
How to reduce the maternal mortality rate worldwide?
To reduce maternal mortality, it is essential that education is part of the system. It is vitally important to prevent unwanted pregnancies. To this end, all women must have access to contraceptive systems. Of course, adolescents must be included in the program. To have a legal system where abortions are performed safely and receive quality care after the abortion.
Most maternal deaths are perfectly preventable. The world’s health systems have knowledge of how to prevent these deaths. It is essential that all women around the world have access to quality health care regardless of their social or economic status.