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On Monday, Amnesty International launched the “death clock” in Times Square in New York City. Every 90 seconds, it ticks off another woman’s life lost from pregnancy-related causes. Incidentally, many of the world’s leaders are also gathered in New York at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit to review the commitments they made ten years ago to eradicate extreme poverty, which included a commitment to improve maternal health. Let’s hope their motorcades make it to the West Side to pay tribute to the millions of women who have been lost in the interim—and mourn these lives that could have been saved with the right investments.
The clock is counting to 358,000—the United Nations’ newest estimate of the number of women who die every year from pregnancy-related causes, which include unsafe abortions. While that number may shock you, it actually shows that a third fewer women are dying from pregnancy-related causes now than 20 years ago. Good news to be sure, but it also means two-thirds of these women are continuing to meet the same fate.
So now that we’ve counted them, where are these women? Here’s a quick look at some data from the new United Nations report.
Note: Many of these countries are quite populous, which accounts in part for having a larger absolute number of maternal deaths.
Note: Some of the countries have low maternal mortality ratios despite significant increases in the last 20 years.
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