The number of women who are dying in pregnancy and childbirth is on the decline, according to new estimates released by the United Nations today.
Over the last 20 years, the number of annual maternal deaths has dropped by nearly 50%, falling from 543,000 in 1990 to 287,000 in 2010. This achievement is a testament to the global efforts undertaken to support mothers' health.
While global progress has been made, particularly in East Asia, many countries will not achieve Millennium Development Goal 5, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015. Most of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The new estimates are developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank.