Assessing maternal mortality in developing countries.

Population and Societies

372, October 2001

  • In the West, maternal deaths remain to a large extent underreported
  • The survey
  • The cas of Senegal
  • What measures can be taken to reduce maternal mortality ratio ?


According to WHO, about half a million women die each year due to pregnancy or childbirth. Over half of these women are African (53% in 1995), while the rest are Asian (42%). Less than 1% of maternal deaths occur in Europe or North America. In order to offset the variations linked to population size or birth rates, one usually refers to the maternal mortality ratio, which is the number of maternal deaths per hundred thousand live births.

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