According to Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008 Estimates developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and The World Bank,
• Five years remain until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) adopted at the 2000 Millennium Summit. There are two targets for assessing progress in improving maternal health (MDG 5): reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by three quarters between 1990 and 2015, and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.
• Maternal mortality ratio means number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100 000 live births during the same time-period. Maternal mortality rate means number of maternal deaths in a given period per 100 000 women of reproductive age during the same time-period. Adult lifetime risk of maternal death means the probability of dying from a maternal cause during a woman’s reproductive lifespan.
• The fifth MDG aims to improve maternal health with a target of reducing MMR by 75% between 1990 and 2015 – that is, it seeks to achieve a 5.5% annual decline in MMR from 1990. Globally the annual percentage decline in MMR between 1990 and 2008 was only 2.3%. Among countries with an MMR ≥100 in 1990, it is evident that 30 countries have made insufficient or no progress, including 23 from sub-Saharan Africa.
• An estimated 358 000 maternal deaths occurred worldwide in 2008, a 34% decline from the levels of 1990. Despite this decline, developing countries continued to account for 99% (355 000) of the deaths.
• By country, India had the largest number of maternal deaths (63 000), followed by Nigeria (50 000), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (19 000), Afghanistan (18 000), Ethiopia (14 000), Pakistan (14 000), the United Republic of Tanzania (14 000), Bangladesh (12 000), Indonesia (10 000), Sudan (9700), and Kenya (7900). These 11 countries comprised an estimated 65% of the global maternal deaths reported in 2008.
• The estimated MMR (deaths per 100000 live births) for India in 2008 was 230.
• In 2008, the 10 highest MMR countries in sub-Saharan Africa in descending order were: Chad (1200), Somalia (1200), Guinea-Bissau (1000), Liberia (990), Burundi (970), Sierra Leone (970), the Central African Republic (850), Nigeria (840), Mali (830), and Niger (820).
• Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for 87% (313 000) of global maternal deaths. Eleven countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, and the United Republic of Tanzania, comprised 65% of all maternal deaths in 2008.
• Overall, it was estimated that there were 42 000 deaths due to HIV/AIDS among pregnant women in 2008. About half of those were assumed to be maternal. The contribution of HIV/AIDS was highest in sub-Saharan Africa where 9% of all maternal deaths were due to HIV/AIDS. Without these deaths, the MMR for sub-Saharan Africa would have been 580 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births instead of 640.
• The MMR in 2008 was highest in developing regions (290) in stark contrast to developed regions (14) and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (40).
• Among developing regions, sub-Saharan Africa had the highest MMR at 640 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 2008, followed by South Asia (280), Oceania (230), South-Eastern Asia (160), North Africa (92), Latin America and the Caribbean (85), Western Asia (68), and Eastern Asia (41).
• Forty-five countries had high estimated MMR (MMR ≥300) with four countries (Afghanistan, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, and Somalia), having extremely high MMR (MMR ≥1000). Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, the seven countries with high MMR were: Afghanistan (1400), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (580), Nepal (380), Timor-Leste (370), Bangladesh (340), Haiti (300), and Cambodia (290).
• Among developing regions, the adult lifetime risk of maternal death (the probability that a 15-year-old female will die eventually from a maternal cause) is highest in sub-Saharan Africa (at 1 in 31), followed by Oceania (1 in 110) and South Asia (1 in 120), while the developed regions had the smallest lifetime risk (1 in 4300).
• During the period 1990–2008, 147 countries experienced a decline in MMR, 90 of which showed a decline of 40% or more.
• For 2008, there were an estimated 358 000 maternal deaths in the world, or a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 260 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births.
• Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for 87% (313 000) of global maternal deaths.
• Overall, it was estimated that there were 42 000 deaths due to HIV/AIDS among pregnant women. Without HIV/AIDS, the MMR for sub-Saharan Africa would have been 580 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births instead of 640.
• The total MMR percentage decline in developing regions was 34%, more than twice that of the developed regions of 13%. Among the developing regions, Eastern Asia had the largest decline, 63%, followed by South-Eastern Asia 57%, South Asia 53%, Asia 52%, Western Asia 52%, Latin America and the Caribbean 41%, sub-Saharan Africa 26%, and Oceania 22%.
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger: Possible to achieve if some changes are made
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education: Possible to achieve if some changes are made
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women: Possible to achieve if some changes are made
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality: Off track
Goal 5: Improve maternal health: Possible to achieve if some changes are made
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases: Insufficient information
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability: Insufficient information
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development: Insufficient information