Around the world, one woman dies every 90 seconds in pregnancy or childbirth -- that's more than 350,000 women every year. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable.
As Mahmoud Fathalla, past president of the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said:
"Women are not dying of diseases we can't treat. ... They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving."
Since 2000, the world's anti-poverty agenda has been dictated by the Millennium Development Goals, a set of targets ranging from cutting extreme poverty in half to ensuring universal primary education. MDG 5 aims to cut the maternal mortality ratio by 75%. According to UN analysis, only 10 countries are considered to be “on track” to meet MDG 5. Of all the MDGs, MDG 5 is considered one of the least likely to be met.
Maternal mortality is breaking into public consciousness as a key human rights issue. In June 2010, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution recognizing maternal mortality as a human rights concern. Maternal health champions like Christy Turlington Burns explicitly frame the issue in human rights terms.
Amnesty International is campaigning for the right to maternal health in the following countries: