Fresh data released by the United Nations shows a 45 per cent decrease in maternal deaths since 1990. An estimated 2.89 lakh women died in 2013 from complications in pregnancy and childbirth as against 5.23 lakh maternal deaths in 1990. Another WHO study, also published in “The Lancet Global Health”, adds a new dimension to maternal mortality by stating that more than one in four mothers die due to pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, malaria and obesity, which can aggravate during pregnancy. “Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis”, finds that this is similar to the proportion of deaths during pregnancy and childbirth from severe bleeding.

The report said India has been making good progress as its maternal mortality numbers have gone down by 65 per cent from 569 per lakh live births in 1990 to 190 per lakh live births in 2013.

“Together, the two reports highlight the need to invest in proven solutions, such as quality care for all women during pregnancy and childbirth, and particular care for pregnant women with existing medical conditions,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, assistant director general, family, women’s and children’s health, WHO.

According to “Trends in maternal mortality 1990 to 2013” brought out by the UN bodies, including the WHO, in 2013, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 210 maternal deaths per lakh live births, down from 380 maternal deaths per lakh live births in 1990 (a 45 per cent reduction).

The global reduction of MMR has accelerated with a 3.5 per cent annual decline from 2000 to 2013, as compared to 1.4 per cent from 1990 to 2000.

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