University of Massachusetts Bio-Statistician Finds a Significant Drop in Global Maternal Mortality

Alkema, LeontineA new study led by Leontine Alkema, an assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts, finds that worldwide, maternal mortality rates have fallen almost 44 percent over the past quarter century.

The research analyzed data on maternal mortality from 183 countries around the world. The researchers found that the maternal mortality rate declined from 385 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 216 deaths per live births in 2015.

The authors found the greatest reduction in maternal mortality rates in East Asia. Overall, nine countries showed a 75 percent reduction in maternal mortality rates since 1990.

The United Nations has set a goal of reducing maternal mortality to 75 per 100,000 live births by the year 2030. “Despite global progress in reducing maternal mortality,” Dr. Alkema says, “immediate action is required to meet the ambitious 2030 target, and ultimately eliminate preventable maternal mortality.”

Dr. Alkema joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts earlier this year. She had taught at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Alkema holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and a Ph.D. in statistical demography from the University of Washington in Seattle.

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