Mothers and newborns are no more likely to survive today than two
decades ago, with prospects worst in countries battling AIDS, conflict
and poverty, the World Health Statistics 2009 report showed on Thursday.
Maternal mortality is stuck at what it was in 1990, Ties Boerma,
director of the Wolrd Health Orgnaisation's department of health
The report showed that most maternal deaths occur
in Africa, where the maternal mortality ratio in 2005 was 900 per
100,000 live births compared to 400 per 100,000 globally. That is
little changed since 1990.
Progress in reducing maternal
mortality and morbidity depends on better access to, and use of, good
maternal and reproductive health services, the WHO said.
Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said persistent
high death rates from pregnancy and childbirth was an outrage and the
wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was no excuse
for inaction. [ID:nLJ557840]
Speaking at the WHO's annual
assembly, Sarah Brown said simple measures before, during, and after
delivery could save women's lives.
Although the number of child
deaths had fallen 27 percent globally since 1990, with an estimated 9
million children aged under five dying in 2007, there had been little
improvement in the health of newborns, according to the report.
The countries making least progress were those with high levels of
AIDS, economic hardship and violence, the WHO said. Sierra Leone,
Nigeria and Afghanistan were among the worst for both maternal and
child health, according to the report.
mortality increasingly depends on tackling neonatal mortality; globally
an estimated 37 percent of deaths among children under five occurs in
the first month of life, most in the first week, the WHO said.
Better immunisation coverage, use of oral rehydration therapies during
diarrhoea, access to insecticide-treated mosquito nets and improved
water sanitation had helped improve children's health in many poor
However, because the availability and use of proven
interventions at community level remain low, pneumonia and diarrhoea
still kill 3.8 million children under five each year, the report said.