Maternal deaths projected to drop over next decade

Published November 12, 2019

In US, nearly 70% increase in maternal mortality ratio since 2000

More than $100 billion shortfall expected in meeting global UN maternal goals for 2030


NAIROBI – Current trends in fertility and maternal mortality lead researchers to project that more than 150,000 women will die during pregnancy and childbirth in 2030.

“While that number is quite high, it represents a drop of more than 40,000 from 2017,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. “Moreover, many countries are on track to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.”

Speaking at a conference in Nairobi hosted by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Murray cautioned that future progress may be hindered by an expected shortfall of more than $100 billion needed to meet that SDG target.

“Increasing access to health care and providing better training for practitioners are two of the most critical needs of pregnant women,” Murray said. “Of course, maternal disorders vary by age. Recognizing risks associated with different age groups is essential to reducing the number of deaths.”

In the US, where spending on health care is among the highest in the world, the maternal mortality ratio increased by nearly 70% between 2000 and 2017, from 18 deaths per 100,000 live births to 30.

The UNFPA conference is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, at which 179 governments agreed to take steps toward empowering women and girls. Issues to be covered include:

  • Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage;
  • Financing required to complete the programs empowering women and girls;
  • Economic growth and sustainable development; and
  • Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.


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About the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research organization at the University of Washington that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME is committed to transparency and makes this information widely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions on allocating resources to improve population health.