And that rate is cause for great concern, particularly "in the resource-poor developing countries." There, Shalala and Veneman write,
►"Every minute a woman ... dies in pregnancy or childbirth," for a total last year of 536,000 such deaths.
►Women "are 300 times more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth than women in developed countries."
►Their children suffer, too, as infants of women who die in childbirth "are up to 10 times more likely to die within two years."
The solution ought to come as little surprise:
Yet, when women have access to family planning, antenatal care, skilled nursing and doctors at birth, and emergency obstetric and postpartum care almost all mothers and newborns live through the complications that would otherwise kill them.
To step up efforts to improve health care -- "to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality rates by 2015" -- Shalala (near right) and Veneman (far right) have joined a coalition of NGOs and others in calling for Mothers Day Every Day, "a campaign that raises awareness and advocates for greater U.S. leadership to improve maternal and newborn health globally."
A noteworthy initiative this American Mother's Day.