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Maternal Mortality Rates 26 Oct 2009
Pregnant woman
How to prevent women and new borns form early death

Over half a million women die each year from complications during pregnancy, delivery or shortly afterwards. To address the problem, the UN Population Fund is holding a high level maternal health meeting in Addis Ababa today. They aim to give maternal and reproductive health a more prominent place on the development agenda, and to increase the political and financial commitment to reducing deaths. One of the Millennium Development Goals (built on agreements made at UN conferences in the 1990s) is to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015. Although some regions have shown progress e.g. Malaysia and Sri Lanka, other countries such as Malawi and Afghanistan have shown little evidence of improvement. Dr Palitha Mahipala, Deputy Director General for Health Services for Sri Lankan government, explains how this low income country has managed to reduce the levels of maternal mortality. To discuss what lessons can be learnt, Sheila is joined by Oona Campbell, Professor in Epidemiology and Reproductive Health, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Co-ordinator of MARCH, Maternal Reproductive and Child Health and Brigid McConville, Director of the UK White Ribbon Alliance.

United Nations Development Programme
The White Ribbon Alliance

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