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  • Sonali Quantius

Where are we now with the UN's SDG goal of reducing Maternal Mortality by 2030?

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One of the targets of SDG3 by 2030 is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

We are nowhere closer to achieving that target. It stands at 152 in 2022. The pandemic has made it worse and reversed some of the earlier progress by a huge margin.

Unequal access to healthcare means that Switzerland's maternal mortality rate is 5 deaths per 100,000 live births while India's maternal mortality rate is 118 deaths per 100,000 live births and Sub Saharan Africa's MMR is 546 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The World Health Organization reports more than 800 women globally die each day from preventable causes related to childbirth and pregnancy. That is, 1 woman dies every 2 minutes due to childbirth-related issues - that is totally preventable. Almost all of those women -- a staggering 99% -- live in developing nations, except the US, which is one of the only industrialized nations where maternal mortality is actually increasing, instead of decreasing, despite spending more on healthcare than any other country in the world. Here are some other facts:

  • Over 40 percent of all countries have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people; over 55 percent of countries have fewer than 40 nursing and midwifery personnel per 10,000 people.

  • Young adolescents (ages 10-14) face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other women.

  • Maternal mortality ratio – the proportion of mothers that do not survive childbirth compared to those who do – in developing regions is still 14 times higher than in the developed regions.

  • Despite overall declines in maternal mortality in most developing countries, women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centers.

Pic credit: Every Mother Counts

The causes of these preventable deaths are in the infographic above. The 'indirect causes' are maternal suicides, which are now classified as 'direct causes' by WHO since 2012.

The “three delays model” explains the most common barriers to seeking obstetric care and causes of maternal mortality as seen above:

First Delay: delay in seeking care while being pregnant

Second Delay: delay in reaching an adequate health care facility on time, and

Third Delay: delay in receiving adequate care when a facility is reached

More than 45% of the delays are due to the first delay which is entirely avoidable.

I am passionate about this because everyone deserves respectful, quality, and equitable healthcare, especially when they are at vulnerable periods of their lives. That is why I started Haplomind - to make sure that every woman has access to the care and support they need before they contribute to that statistic.

Access to basic healthcare should not be a function of where you are born and how easily you can reach that care.

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