Thursday, May 6, 2010

maternal deaths, science and politics

From Alisa Harris in World...

UN population conferees use older, higher death numbers to prop their case for abortion and family planning in undeveloped countries despite a 'robust reason for optimism' when it comes to maternal health.

...researchers from the University of Washington and University of Queensland found that the maternal mortality rate is far less than the 500,000 annual deaths claimed by the UN. The new study found that maternal deaths numbered 343,000 in 2008, and have declined from 422 per 100,000 live births in 1980 to 251 in 2008....More than 50 percent of all maternal deaths were in only six countries in 2008...Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Malawi , Chad, Sierra Leone, and Lesotho.

As Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, said, "The overall message, for the first time in a generation, is one of persistent and welcome progress" and "robust reason for optimism."

However, some advocates didn't want the good news out just yet. Horton said they asked The Lancet to delay its publication to avoid political damage to the maternal mortality campaign...


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