Maternal mortality - The problem

Maternal mortality refers to the number of deaths among pregnant women and mothers in connection with pregnancy, childbirth, or during the first weeks after delivery.

Maternal mortality is a crucial health indicator and is often measured as the number of deaths per 100,000 live births.

The objective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG 3.1 is to, by the year 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

Country Deaths per 100 000 livebirths (2015) UN Sustainability goal 3.1
Sierra Leone 1360 70
Tchad 856 70
Somalia 732 70
Burundi 712 70
DR Kongo 693 70
Tanzania 398 70
Kenya 510 70

Maternalmortality – The causes

Maternal mortality is a complex issue, and the causes vary across different regions and countries. Several factors can contribute to maternal mortality, and these causes are often linked to deficiencies in healthcare systems, socioeconomic conditions, and access to essential resources. Here are some of the overarching causes of maternal mortality worldwide:

1. Inadequate healthcare: Many women worldwide lack access to adequate healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This may result from a shortage of qualified healthcare providers, appropriate medical equipment, or sufficient medical facilities.

2. Socioeconomic factors: Women’s economic and social status plays a significant role. Women in poor and marginalized communities often have limited access to healthcare and education, increasing the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

3.Lack of education and awareness: Insufficient education and awareness about reproductive health can lead to the late detection of complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

4.Insufficient family planning services: Limited access to family planning services can result in unplanned and high-risk pregnancies, increasing the risk of maternal mortality.

5.Transport and infrastructure challenges: Difficulties in transportation and inadequate infrastructure can prevent women from reaching healthcare facilities in a timely manner when needed.

Reducing maternal mortality requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses these fundamental causes and includes improvements in healthcare systems, empowerment of women and communities, and the tackling of socioeconomic and structural challenges.


Women died every day from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth in 2020!