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The ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM) target for reducing the global maternal mortality ratio (MMRatio) by 2030 was adopted as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 3.1: reduce global MMRatio to less than 70 per lakh live births by 2030. Having targets for mortality reduction is important, but accurate measurement of maternal mortality remains challenging and many deaths still go uncounted. Many countries still lack well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, and where such systems do exist, reporting errors – whether incompleteness (unregistered deaths, also known as “missing”) or misclassification of cause of death – continue to pose a major challenge to data accuracy. The report entitled 'Trends in Maternal Mortality 2000 to 2017: Estimates by World Health Orgnization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Bank Group, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Population Division presents internationally comparable global, regional and country-level estimates and trends for maternal mortality between 2000 and 2017.

The new estimates presented in this report supersede all previously published estimates for years that fall within the same time period. Care should be taken to use only these estimates for the interpretation of trends in maternal mortality from 2000 to 2017; due to modifications in methodology and data availability, differences between these and previous estimates should not be interpreted as representing time trends. In addition, when interpreting changes in MMRatios over time, one should take into consideration that it is easier to reduce the MMRatio when the level is high than when the MMRatio level is already low.

Please note that Maternal Mortality Ratio is the number of women who die  from pregnancy-related causes while pregnant or within 42 days of pregnancy termination per 100,000 live births.

The key findings of the report entitled Trends in Maternal Mortality 2000 to 2017: Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, World Bank Group, UNFPA and the United Nations Population Division (released in September 2019) are as follows (please click here and click here to access): 

• Nigeria and India had the highest estimated numbers of maternal deaths, accounting for approximately one-third (35 percent) of estimated  global maternal deaths in 2017, with approximately 67,000 and 35,000 maternal deaths (23 percent and 12 percent of global maternal deaths), respectively.

• Maternal Mortality Ratio for India was 370 in 2000, 286 in 2005, 210 in  2010, 158 in 2015 and 145 in 2017. So, the MMRatio for the country reduced by almost 61 percent between 2000 and 2017.

• MMRatio for China was 59 in 2000, 44 in 2005, 36 in 2010, 30 in 2015 and 29 in 2017. Hence, the MMRatio for China reduced by around 51 percent between 2000 and 2017.  

• The absolute difference in MMRatio between India and China has lessened from 311 in 2000 to 116 in 2017. The country's MMRatio  was 6.3 times that of China in 2000, which has reduced to 5 times in 2017.

• MMRatio for Bangladesh was 434 in 2000, 343 in 2005, 258 in 2010, 200 in 2015 and 173 in 2017. Therefore, the MMRatio for Bangladesh decreased by nearly 60 percent between 2000 and 2017.  

• The absolute gap in MMRatio between Bangladesh and India has reduced from 64 in 2000 to 28 in 2017.

• MMRatio for Sri Lanka was 56 in 2000, 45 in 2005, 38 in 2010, 36 in 2015 and 36 in 2017. So, the MMRatio for Sri Lanka reduced by roughly 36 percent between 2000 and 2017.  

• MMRatio for Pakistan was 286 in 2000, 237 in 2005, 191 in 2010, 154 in 2015 and 140 in 2017. Therefore, the MMRatio for Pakistan declined by roughly 51 percent between 2000 and 2017.  


• MMRatio for South Asia was 395 in 2000, 309 in 2005, 235 in 2010, 179 in 2015 and 163 in 2017. Hence, the MMRatio for South Asia reduced by around 59 percent between 2000 and 2017.   


• Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for approximately 86 percent (2,54,000) of the estimated global maternal deaths in 2017 with sub-Saharan Africa alone accounting for roughly 66 percent (1,96,000), while Southern Asia accounted for nearly 20 percent (58,000). South-Eastern Asia, in addition, accounted for over 5 percent of global maternal deaths (16,000).


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