WOMEN face a great risk to their own health during pregnancy. A joint study conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization highlights the normally underestimated fact of maternal mortality. The report says that there are nearly 80,000 more pregnancyrelated deaths per year than previously reported. Every year, some 585,000 maternal deaths take place in the world and an alarming 99 per cent of them in developing countries alone.
Asia, where 61 per cent of the world's births take place, also accounts for 55 per cent of maternal deaths. While Africa, which has only 20 per cent of the world's births, accounts for 40 per cent of all maternal deaths. In contrast, developed countries, which contribute only I I per cent of all births, have less than one per cent of total maternal deaths. Eastern and western African regions top the chart with the highest maternal mortality ratio of over 1000 per lakh live births.
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