Study: 2 million babies and mothers die at birth

Oct 07, 2009 By CELEAN JACOBSON , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- More than 2 million babies and mothers die worldwide each year from childbirth complications, outnumbering child deaths from malaria and HIV/AIDS, according to a study.

The study, released Tuesday at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics world congress being held in Cape Town, also showed that such deaths could be easily avoided.

"The world will continue to miss the unheard cry of the 230 babies who die every hour from childbirth complications," unless there is better planning and implementation of policies, according to the study.

Some 1.02 million babies are stillborn and another 904,000 die soon after birth. By comparison, 820,000 children die from malaria and 208,000 die from HIV/AIDS worldwide.

About 42 percent of the world's 536,000 maternal deaths also occur during childbirth, according to the study. Deaths in Africa and South Asia account for three-quarters of the maternal and .

The research was led by Save the Children, the Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins University with investigators from a dozen countries. It was published in the October edition of the federation's journal.

"The huge numbers hide multiple personal stories of loss," said Joy Lawn, who runs Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives campaign. "Each death is a tragedy to a family - actually a double tragedy since almost all these deaths could be prevented."

The report said that many of the deaths could be avoided with improvements in basic , and training for local to perform emergency cesarean sections and other lifesaving techniques.

Lawn said she hoped that the study would be used by countries to ensure money was invested where it was needed.

Poverty is one of the main causes of these deaths. In wealthier countries most women give birth with a skilled attendant while in poor countries, few women do.

Most deaths also occur in remote rural areas where there are few doctors and nurses. Each year, 60 million of the world's 136 million births occur outside health facilities, and only one out of every five babies born in African hospitals are cared for by skilled staff.

Lawn told The Associated Press that researchers were taken aback by the shocking figures and the lack of attention given to these and their .

"It is seen as women's business. Stillbirths don't count. Sometimes the deaths of women don't even count," she said.

However, she said that developments in Malawi show some signs of encouragement. The country, located in southern Africa, has only three pediatricians for about 12 million people. Yet, 60 percent of births took place in a clinic or hospital, she said, adding that the majority of cesarean sections were performed not by doctors but by trained health workers.

"They knew they didn't have a lot of money or people and so had to be strategic," she said.

The authors of the research welcomed the $5.3 billion committed by world leaders to maternal and child care at last month's United Nations General Assembly.

---

On the Net:

http://www.figo.org

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Meta-analysis tests vitamin D supplementation for weight loss theory

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Huge proportion of maternal deaths worldwide are preventable

Feb 19, 2008

A study published in PLoS Medicine this week suggests that of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pre ...

Nearly 28,000 US infants died in 2004

May 04, 2007

Preterm birth contributes to more than one-third of all infant deaths, according to the National Vital Statistics report released today.

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

16 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

16 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Scientists make critical end-stage liver discovery

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers in the University of Arizona's College of Pharmacy has discovered a molecular pathway that could be key to creating new therapeutics that would slow or even reverse ...

Solving cancer's secrets

Some fathers play ball with their sons. Or take them fishing. Chuck Perou's father took his son to his pathology lab to show him how a pathologist conducts tests and runs experiments. Perou, a nature junky ...

Harm-reduction program optimizes HIV/AIDS prevention

(Medical Xpress)—New research from UC San Francisco and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation has found that clients participating in a harm-reduction substance use treatment program, the Stonewall Project, decrease their use ...

Meth mouth menace

Something was up in Idaho. While visiting a friend in Athol, a small town north of Coeur d'Alene, Jennifer Towers, director of research affairs at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, noticed ...