As the World health Organisation (WHO) releases its latest report on maternal mortality, IBTimesUK looks at some of the counties with the highest rates of deaths.

There were an estimated 289,000 global maternal deaths in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted alone for 62% (179,000) of the deaths, is still the riskiest region in the world for dying of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) was calculated by taking into consideration the deaths of women while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.

Sierra Leone

Of the 40 countries with the highest MMR in 2013, Sierra Leone is estimated to have the highest, with an MMR of 1,100 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Many initiatives are being carried out in the country in order to reduce the risk of maternal death.

"The issue of babies and maternal health should no longer just be a government issue; it should be of community interest," obstetrician Mohamed Yilla, who runs Evidence 4 Action, a programme aimed at improving maternal and new-born survival, told the Guardian. "The community can bring about the sustainable health system and maintain it."


maternal mortality
Maternal deaths occur particularly in areas where women have many babies in short time spans. Wikimedia Commons

India and Nigeria are accountable for one third of global maternal deaths in 2013. 50,000 maternal deaths occurred in India in 2013.
The rate of MMR here is of 190 deaths per 100,000 live births.The rate has notably diminished from 1990, when it was of 560.

According to the WHO report, India along with nine other countries accounts for 60% global maternal deaths.


Around 40,000 pregnant women died in Nigeria in 2013, WHO said.

In Nigeria maternal mortality rate can reach up to 3,200 women, said.

In Northern Nigeria, this rate is even higher.
Maternal deaths occur particularly in areas where women have many babies in short time spans under malnutrition, poor hygiene conditions and lacking access to medical treatment.

The MMR rate for Chad is of 980 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Regarding adult lifetime risk of maternal mortality, Chad had one of the highest in 2013, with one in 15 pregnant women dying.

The estimated adult lifetime maternal mortality risks in high-income countries is one in 3,400.

"A 15-year-old girl living in sub-Saharan Africa faces about a 1 in 40 risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth during her lifetime. A girl of the same age living in Europe has a lifetime risk of 1 in 3,300," said Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).


In 2013, 880 pregnant women out of 100,000 died in Central African Republic.

The rate, which is still very high, has diminished since 1990, when it stood at 1,200 deaths.

The ongoing conflict in CAR, which has caused more than 2,000 deaths as well as more than a million people displaced, contributes to the high rate of mortality as well as the diffusion of diseases.

The proportion of maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa is higher as a result of the HIV epidemic.

Without HIV, the MMR for sub-Saharan Africa would be 491 maternal deaths per 100, 000 live births instead of 510, the WHO said.