Having a child remains one of the biggest health risks for women worldwide. Fifteen hundred women die every day while giving birth. That's a half a million mothers a year.
UNICEF's newly released flagship report, 'The State of the World's Children 2009', addresses the seemingly intractable problem of maternal mortality.
The report highlights the difference in pregnancy risk between women in developing countries and their peers in industrialized nations - a gap often termed the greatest health divide in the world. That gap also applies to newborn health: A child born in a developing country is almost 14 times more likely to die during the first month of life than a child born in a developed one.
"Saving the lives of mothers and their newborns requires more than just medical intervention," said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, who launched the report in South Africa. "Educating girls is pivotal to improving maternal and neonatal health, and also benefits families and societies."
'Childinfo' website monitors the situation of children and women
UNICEF has also launched a new Childinfo website, which presents the latest statistical information on children and women - including data from 'The State of the World's Children 2009'.
Starting in March, the site will provide access to 'Childinfo News', a web-based newsletter with regular alerts on:
New data available from 'Childinfo', as well as recent and upcoming publications
UNICEF's leadership role in monitoring the situation of children and women, particularly in relation to the Millennium Development Goals
Results of UNICEF's data analysis and methodological work
And progress made towards implementing the fourth round of UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys programme, also known as MICS4.
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