A team led by the University of Washington in Seattle has found that maternal deaths across the globe have reduced drastically. This is welcome news for healthcare professionals, who battle hard to prevent maternal and infant deaths.
The current study examined figures for maternal deaths for 181 countries between 1980 and 2008. The researchers report that there were 342,900 maternal deaths worldwide in 2008, down from 526,300 in 1980.
However the distressing aspect is that over 50% of these deaths were confined to India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"There are still too many mothers dying worldwide, but now we have a greater reason for optimism than has generally been perceived," said lead author Dr Christopher Murray.
Another surprising finding in the study was that there were 12 maternal deaths in every 100,000 live births in the US in 1990 and compared to 17 in 2008. The study is published in the Lancet.