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Maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. From 1990 to 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 44 per cent – from 385 deaths to 216 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to UN inter-agency estimates. This translates into an average annual rate of reduction of 2.3 per cent. While impressive, this is less than half the 5.5 per cent annual rate needed to achieve the three-quarters reduction in maternal mortality targeted for 2015 in Millennium Development Goal 5.
Every region has advanced, although levels of maternal mortality remain unacceptably high in sub-Saharan Africa. Almost all maternal deaths can be prevented, as evidenced by the huge disparities found between the richest and poorest countries. The lifetime risk of maternal death in high-income countries is 1 in 3,300, compared to 1 in 41 in low-income.
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