The huge numbers of women dying while giving birth due to lack of medical facilities in Africa has not abated over the past decade, a World Health Organisation expert said on Thursday.
"The maternal mortality ratio is extremely high at about 1,000 deaths per 100,000 live births ... This indicator did not improve in sub-Saharan Africa during the last 10 years," said Luis Sambo, the WHO director for Africa.
Ministers of health from African Union's 53 member states are meeting in Ethiopia for two days to seek ways to slash maternal and infant deaths.
According to the WHO, some 1,500 women die daily from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth on the continent because they have no access to skilled emergency care.
"Women and mothers are at the heart of communities and yet to all our regret, ... every minute across Africa a woman dies during pregnancy and childbirth," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the meeting.
"When the lives of mothers are so cruelly and unnecessarily lost in childbirth and related complications, the future of our nations is jeopardised," Meles added.