Global Declines in Maternal Mortality: An Interview with Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA

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Rahim Kanani, Manager of the “Common Good” column at Forbes, recently interviewed Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), about the new report highlighting major declines in maternal mortality around the world. The article, New Research: Annual Maternal Mortality Worldwide Declines 47%, was published today on

Question from Rahim Kanani:

Health, education, economic opportunity and other issues are interconnected, so where does maternal mortality fit in this larger ecosystem?

Reply from Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin:

The number of maternal deaths is often inversely proportional to girls and women’s status in the family and society, and evidence shows that the poorer the household, the greater the risk of maternal death. This is reflected in the great disparity in where women die in childbirth, both between and within countries.

Furthermore, there is also data that shows that the more education a woman gets, the lower the risk of dying while giving life, and the more likely that her newborn will reach his or her second birthday. Thus, it pays to invest in women’s reproductive health, rights and education, not just in order to lower maternal death and disability, but also for the ultimate general economic progress for families, communities, nations—and individual women themselves…

Read the full interview here.