The Maternal Health Gap

By Christine Cupaiuolo — January 18, 2009

“The difference in pregnancy risk between women in developing countries and their peers in the industrialized world is often termed the greatest health divide in the world.”

That’s from a new UNICEF report on child and maternal health, which puts forth the depressing statistic that women in developing countries are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than women in developed countries.

“Every year, more than half a million women die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth complications, including about 70,000 girls and young women aged 15 to 19,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF executive director, at the Johannesburg launch on Thursday. “Since 1990, complications related to pregnancy and childbirth have killed an estimated 10 million women.”

The State of the World’s Children 2009 website includes a number of useful tables, charts and graphs, as well as video interviews and a look at how a handful of countries are responding to the challenges.

Reuters has more on the release of the report. And go read Amie Newman’s analysis at RH Reality Check, which begins:

Childbirth and pregnancy are extremely dangerous endeavors for the women of the world but most especially for women in developing nations and even more especially for teen girls in developing nations. We know this. We know that anti-choice, religious right extremists prefer to throw women and girls under the bus rather than admit to this fact. But it is the truth.

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