Childbirth most dangerous in sub-Saharan Africa

When it comes to reproductive health risks, women in wealthy, industrialised countries have far less to worry about than those in impoverished areas of the world. That is one of the conclusions of a report prepared by Population Action International, an advocacy group, and CARE, the relief agency.

  • Rated on such factors as prenatal care, HIV infection rates, contraceptive use and abortion laws, Italian women had fewer reproductive health risks than those of any other country.

  • The U.S. was ranked 15th out of 133 countries evaluated.

  • The U.S. score was pulled down by the fact that it has the highest proportion of teenage mothers among all industrialised countries.

  • Nearly three-quarters of the countries listed as "very high risk" or "high risk" were in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Women in developing countries are 30 times more likely to die from reproductive-health-related causes than women in industrialised countries.

    An Ethiopian woman has a 1-in-7 chance of dying as a result of pregnancy or a reproductive health problem - compared with 1-in-3,500 in the U.S.

    "It is time to remind the world that there is a world of difference for women born into countries that are poor and women born into countries that are developed and wealthy," says PAI president Amy Coen.

    Source: Rita Rubin, A 'World of Difference' in Reproductive Health, USA Today, March 8, 2001; "A World of Difference: Sexual & Reproductive Health & Risks," Population Action International and CARE.

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