Approximately 287,000 women and girls die each year of pregnancy and delivery-related complications, the Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, has said.
Osotimehin disclosed this at an event to mark the countdown of the last 1,000 days to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 on Friday in New York.
He said that the complications remained the number one killer of 15 to 19 year-old-girls in the developing world, stressing that more than 300 million women live with maternal illnesses and injuries such as fistula.
According to him, about 222 million women in the developing world lack access to modern contraceptives.
“We have cause to celebrate the successes achieved around the world but we must also urgently increase our work, resources and actions in areas that are lagging behind.
“In 2000, the world pledged to reduce maternal deaths by three quarters by 2015 from their 1990 levels through MDG 5. Maternal deaths have dropped by 47 per cent globally, but MDG 5 is the goal that lags the farthest behind.
“Maternal deaths and disabilities and unintended pregnancies hold societies back. They perpetuate intergenerational poverty and impede sustainable development by infringing on women’s rights and capacities, while harming the survival and health of children.
“That is why we must all intensify our efforts in these last 1,000 days and beyond,’’ Osotimehin said.
Osotimehin said that UNFPA and its partners support countries with high levels of maternal death and unmet need for family planning to improve policies.
“We also leverage broad partnerships and resources to accelerate support to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,’’ he said.