WHO strives to reduce number of women dying during childbirth

&to=http://english.pravda.ru/world/2002/03/22/27143.html' target=_blank>The World Health Organization (WHO) called on here Tuesday African governments to provide more resources and show political commitment in the fight against maternal and neonatal mortality.

Addressing a news conference in the Kenyan capital city, WHO Assistant Director General on Family and Community Health Joy Phumaphi said unavailability, inaccessible, or poor quality care is fundamentally responsible for more than half a million maternaldeaths each year in African countries, reports the Xinhuanet.

According to the Reuters, women in poor countries have a 1-in-16 chance of dying in &to=http://english.pravda.ru/fun/2002/04/26/28044.html' target=_blank>childbirth, compared to a 1-in-2,800 chance for women in wealthier countries, the United Nations health agency said.

Sub-Saharan Africa and central south Asia suffer the worst rates of maternal death. Most are caused by bleeding, infection, obstructed labor and unsafe abortions.

The campaign's launch coincided with the release of a new manual which aims to teach health providers effective methods to prevent childbirth deaths in even the poorest conditions, and how to gather information to improve statistics on such deaths.

"It is time for all of us to turn technical knowledge into action to save the lives of the women who give life," said one of the authors, Dr Luc de Bernis. The WHO estimates maternal deaths are under-reported by as much as 50 percent. Sixty-two countries have no maternal mortality data at all.

The WHO says around a million children are left motherless each year. These children are 10 times more likely to die in childhood than children whose mothers have not died.

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