When Birth is a Cause of Death

In 2015, more than 300,000 women died during childbirth—often from preventable causes. 99% of the deaths occurred in developing countries.

While maternal mortality fell 44% from 1990-2015, that still falls short of the UN’s goals.

Women’s empowerment may be key to accelerating progress, says Ndola Prata of the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health. In Rwanda—where 65% of Parliament members are women—the maternal mortality ratio fell 77% from 2000-2013 and costs of care and quality of medicines have improved. But, Prata cautions, empowerment is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

University of California Global Health Institute

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