Reduction of Maternal Mortality
A Joint WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF/World Bank Statement
Nonserial Publication
World Health Organization
ISBN-13    9789241561952 ISBN-10    9241561955
Order Number    11500476
Price    CHF    14.00 / US$    16.80 Developing countries:    CHF    9.80
English     1999        44   pages
Draws together the facts, arguments, and lines of action needed to reduce maternal mortality from the current level of nearly 600,000 deaths each year. Intended to raise awareness and stimulate action, the book cites abundant evidence that maternal mortality can be reduced significantly through interventions requiring limited investment. Precise recommendations for action are based on practical lessons acquired during more than a decade of efforts in a wide range of settings.
The statement has ten concise sections. The first introduces the problem of maternal mortality and summarizes what has been learned, over the past 10 years, about the interventions that are effective and the specific elements of care that must be provided. Section two argues that safe motherhood is a human rights issue. The five main medical causes of maternal death are discussed in the next section, which is followed by a review of underlying factors. These include the low social status of women in developing countries, lack of access to care, excessive physical work, lack of a skilled attendant at birth, and numerous problems caused by poor nutrition. The impact of maternal deaths on families and communities is considered in the next section.
A review of successful initiatives in industrialized and developing countries demonstrates that the economic wealth of a country is not the most important determinant of maternal mortality. Certain features shared by successful initiatives are summarized in section seven, which focuses on legislative and policy actions, community interventions, and health sector actions. Subsequent sections consider what health planners and managers can do to ensure that services are in place, and describe practical approaches to programme monitoring.