Home Health 1 in 4 maternal deaths caused by pre-existing medical conditions – UNICEF

1 in 4 maternal deaths caused by pre-existing medical conditions – UNICEF

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ABUJA – The UN Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that one in four maternal deaths were caused by pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, malaria and obesity.

This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Geoffrey Njoku, Head, Media and External Relations.

The statement said pregnancy had been known to aggravate such health impacts, which was proportionate to deaths from severe bleeding.

It said although the UN agencies observed a steady progress in saving mothers’ lives,there was a need for efforts to be geared towards investing in proven solutions, such as quality care for all women during pregnancy and childbirth.

It also underscores the need for particular care for pregnant women with existing medical conditions.

The statement quoted the recently published Lancet Global Health Series by WHO, which gave a systematic report on why women die and stressed the need to invest in accurate data.

“In many low-income countries, maternal deaths go uncounted and frequently the cause of death is unknown or not recorded correctly, particularly when women die at home.

“This is consistent with general global trends: only one-third of all deaths worldwide are recorded and fewer than 100 countries record the cause of death using WHO’s International Classification of Disease.

“As a result, it is often hard for national health programmes to allocate resources where they are needed most.

“This is why the United Nations Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health is calling for better measurement of maternal and child deaths.

“The Commission requires that by 2015, all countries have taken significant steps to establish a system for registration of births, deaths and causes of death.

“There is growing consensus worldwide that ending preventable maternal deaths can be achieved by ensuring that every woman has access to quality health care.”

The statement also stressed the need for a global and national target beyond 2015, which will be important for tracking progress in reducing maternal deaths and ensuring that maternal health continues to be a global development priority.

The statement also quoted Dr Geeta Gupta, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, as saying that a woman in sub-saharan Africa was still at risk of dying from complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

“A 15-year-old girl living in sub-Saharan Africa faces about a 1 in 40 risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth during her lifetime.

“A girl of the same age living in Europe has a lifetime risk of 1 in 3,300 – underscoring how uneven progress has been around the world.

“Despite advances in the last 20 years, there has been too little progress in preventing adolescent pregnancies, abortions, maternal deaths, sexually-transmitted infections and HIV.”

The statement called for relatively simple and well-known interventions, like midwifery services and gender-based violence prevention and response, saying it would make a huge difference. (NAN)

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