Maternal mortality is unacceptably high. About 295,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. The vast majority of these deaths (94%) occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for approximately 86% (254,000) of the estimated global maternal deaths in 2017. Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for roughly two-thirds (196,000) of maternal deaths, while Southern Asia accounted for nearly one-fifth (58,000).
At the same time, between 2000 and 2017, Southern Asia achieved the greatest overall reduction in MMR: a decline of nearly 60% (from an MMR of 384 down to 157). Despite its very high MMR in 2017, sub-Saharan Africa as a sub-region also achieved a substantial reduction in MMR of nearly 40% since 2000. Additionally, four other sub-regions roughly halved their MMRs during this period: Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Europe and Northern Africa. Overall, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in less-developed countries declined by just under 50%.
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