London, UK, 15 November, 2007 Reproductive Health Matters and Elsevier are pleased to announce the publication of the November Issue devoted to the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative launched by the World Health Organization in 1987. The November issue responds to the question Is Pregnancy Getting Safer for Women"
The answer is yes − and no.
- Globally, the maternal mortality ratio went down from 430 to 400 per 100,000 live births in the 15 years from 1990 to 2005 (a 5.4% decline).
- There has been a 7% decrease since 1990 in the estimated number of maternal deaths globally.
- In North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania and the more developed regions, the number of deaths went down by more than 20%.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of maternal deaths increased between 1990 and 2005, driven by increasing numbers of births and a negligible decline in the ratio of maternal deaths to live births.
The November issue contains numerous articles on womens health and safe motherhood in the developing world. It analyses and answers pressing questions, such as:
- Why a majority of women with obstetric complications in Karnatuka, India die despite having access to good quality healthcare services"
- Why a woman in Botswana dies from high blood pressure unnecessarily"
- Why are so many women still dying from unsafe abortion complications"
- Why has donor financing for maternity services been falling rather than rising"
- Why some countries like Norway and The Netherlands are stepping up to the plate and pledging funds to support maternal health and gender equality"
Twenty years after the launch of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, even though the rate of deaths has gone down − an improvement − the number of women dying an estimated 536,000 in 2003 − remains unacceptably high. In many countries in the world, maternal death continues to be the major cause of death among women of reproductive age.