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Every 2 Minutes, A Woman Dies During Pregnancy or Childbirth: WHO Report

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One woman dies every 2 mins in pregnancy, childbirthAccording to the report titled “Trends in maternal mortality 2000 to 2020” produced by World Health Organization (WHO), which tracks maternal deaths nationally, regionally and globally from 2000 to 2020, it was estimated that around 287 000 women died from a maternal cause in 2020, which is approximately 800 deaths every day and one every 2 minutes.

  • The report highlights the setbacks for women’s health in recent years. The Rate of maternal deaths fell significantly between 2000 and 2015 but largely stagnated between 2016 and 2020 in nearly all regions of the world.
  • Nigeria had the highest estimated number of maternal deaths, accounting for over one quarter (28.5%) of all estimated global maternal deaths in 2020, with approximately 82 000 maternal deaths. Second to Nigeria, India accounted for 8.3% of global maternity deaths i.e. around 24 000 in 2020. 
  • Two other countries with more than 10 000 maternal deaths in 2020: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (22 000) (7.5%)and Ethiopia (10 000) (3.6%) of global maternal deaths, respectively.

About the report: 

The report was produced on behalf of the United Nations Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group comprising WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank Group and the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs(UN-DESA).


i.According to the report, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has dropped by 34.3% (one-third) over a period of 20 years. The Global MMR dropped from 330 deaths per 100000 live births in 2000 to 227 in 2015 to 223 in 2020.

  • The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for maternal deaths is to achieve a Global MMR of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.

ii.Belarus recorded the biggest decline of around 95.5% while Venezuela recorded the highest increase. Between 2000 and 2015, the biggest rise was in the United States of America(USA).

iii.The report discovered that maternal mortality rates dropped in only two of the eight UN regions: in Australia and New Zealand by 35%, and in Central and Southern Asia by 16%.

iv.The MMR increased in Europe and Northern America by 17% and in Latin America and the Caribbean by 15%.

  • Greece and Cyprus are the 2 European countries that witnessed a significant increase.

Key Points:

i.The world’s poorest regions and conflict-affected countries witnessed a high number of maternal deaths. Around 70% of deaths recorded in 2020 were in sub-Saharan Africa, where the MMR is 136 times higher than in Australia and New Zealand.

ii.In the countries facing humanitarian crises (Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), the MMR were twice more than the global average.

iii.Leading Causes: Severe bleeding, infections, complications from unsafe abortions and underlying conditions such as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) /Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are among the leading causes of death.

Recent Related News: 

As per the Global Tuberculosis Report 2022 report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), for the first time in year, there is rise in number of people infected with tuberculosis.

  • An estimated 10.6 million people worldwide were sickened by tuberculosis in 2021, a 4.5% rise from 2020, and 1.6 million people died.

About World Health Organization (WHO): 

Director-General– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland