Zimbabwe is one of the 13 countries in the world that has failed to reduce maternal mortality over the past 25 years, a report released by the World Health Organisation yesterday says.
The report jointly prepared by WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank, shows that while the mortality rate for Zimbabwe stood at 440 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 1990, it has increased to 443 this year.
The report shows a slight improvement though because the deaths peaked at 629 in 2005 and have been on the decline.
The Millennium Development Goal was to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent by this year.
Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth or within 6 weeks after birth.
Other countries that failed to reduce their maternal mortality rates include the world’s richest country, the United States, and Zimbabwe’s southern neighbour and regional powerhouse, South Africa.
The rate in the US dropped from 12 in 1990 to 14 this year and that in South Africa from 108 to 138.
The situation also worsened in the Bahamas, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Georgia, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Suriname, Tonga and Venezuela.
Overall, however, maternal mortality fell by 44 percent from about 532 000 in 1990 to an estimated 303 000 this year but only 9 countries achieved the target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by at least 75 percent between 1990 and 2015.
These are Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Mongolia, Rwanda and Timor-Leste.
About 99 percent of the world’s maternal deaths are still in developing regions, with Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for 2 in 3 deaths.