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FIGO 2012 World Report: Improving Women's Health

ROME, October 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

"Although Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 encompasses reduction of maternal mortality and improvement of sexual and reproductive health, every MDG has an impact on women's health: eradication of poverty, gender equality, reduction of child mortality, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria," commented Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, President-Elect of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), presenting the World Report on Women's Health at the FIGO2012 World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Rome, Italy.

The Report is an overview of the major areas within women's global maternal and reproductive health. "The goal of the 2012 Report - 'Improving Women's Health' - is to focus on these wider issues, expanding the focus for the professionals beyond the traditional basic obstetric functions," he said.

The United Nations MDG5 - "Improve maternal health" sets two targets: reducing the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 75% between 1990 and 2015, and achieving universal access to reproductive health.  Although results have shown a reduction in maternal mortality, the rates in many countries to date are not what had been hoped for. According to the "Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010" report, recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and The World Bank, an estimated 287,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2010 globally, a decline of 47% from levels in 1990. The MMR in 2010 was 210 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, down from 400 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990. The MMR in developing regions (240) was 15 times higher than in developed regions (16).

"The medical activities that need to be implemented to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity are known, but global progress cannot be achieved unless effective policies are introduced by governments that enable women to access such care," Professor Arulkumaran explained. "The FIGO 2012 World Report on the topic of improving women's health provides ample information to allow everyone to take action at an individual, institutional, and professional level. One single organisation or government cannot achieve these tasks. In addition to the global cooperation of partner organisations, every one of us has to take some responsibility to improve women's health," he concluded.

The 2012 Report is published as a Supplement (Volume 119, Supplement 1) to the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics (IJGO), and is available at