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Maternal deaths falling, but not fast enough: WHO

Published on May 6, 2014 11:17 PM

GENEVA (AFP) - Global maternal deaths have fallen sharply in recent decades, but women in sub-Saharan Africa are still by far the most likely to perish while pregnant, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

Fresh WHO statistics show the number of maternal deaths worldwide fell to 289,000 last year, down 45 per cent from 1990, when an estimated 523,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth.

While this marks a big step forward, the UN's health agency stressed it was far from good enough.

"There is still one woman dying every one and a half to two minutes somewhere in the world ... because she is trying to give life," said Ms Marleen Temmerman, who heads the WHO's department of reproductive health and co-authored the report.

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