Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Maternal Mortality Initiative to Fight "Invisible Epidemic"

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Maternal Mortality Initiative to Fight "Invisible Epidemic"

Article excerpt

WHO joined forces with other agencies to step up the fight against maternal mortality in a major training and education initiative to prevent women dying in pregnancy and childbirth in 20 developing countries.

Some funds are in place to get the project moving, but WHO said a further US$ 10 million was needed to implement it fully in the 20 countries which have some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

The initiative, launched on September 29 by the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health, which includes WHO and other international and regional agencies, also aims to improve the collection of data on maternal deaths.

Some 500 000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth every year, according to current WHO data.

WHO believes, however, that the real figure is much higher. It estimates that about 50% of maternal deaths are not reported because they are not classified correctly or, as is more often the case, not counted at all.

It noted that 62 countries have no data on maternal mortality.

"We have an invisible epidemic," said Dr Joy Phumaphi, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family and Community Health. …

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