Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer of unicefusa.org
If I told you that worldwide, the number of mothers who died during pregnancy dropped has dropped by 1/3 in the past 18 years, I hope you would say "that's great!"
It is. But it's not enough.
358,000 pregnant women died of complications in 2008 - more than 1,000 a day. Most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
|A nurse accompanies a pregnant woman during a transportation test run in a UNICEF-sponsored motorcycle ambulance.|
When world leaders at the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 10 years ago, #5 on the list was to reduce maternal mortality by 75%. There are just 5 years to go until 2015, the deadline for the MDG's ... and that's why we can't afford to rest at a 34% decline.
Yes, progress is great. But more countries need to implement the programs that have already proved effective - training midwives, strengthening health care systems, lowering and abolishing hospital fees. No woman should die because she can't get pregnancy care.