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"Women are not dying because of untreatable diseases. They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving: We have not yet valued women's lives and health highly enough."

- Professor Mahmoud Fathalla

In the world today, an estimated 303,000 mothers die each year as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.  This is equivalent to 830 women dying each day. Childbirth is risky for both mother and baby. Children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life. Globally, 7,000 newborn die every day. According to UNICEF, 2.6 million children die in the first month of life - 1 million die on the first day of life and another 1 million within the first 6 days.   Another 2.6 million are stillborn. Approximately 99% of these deaths occur in the developing world, with almost all of them being preventable.

The risk of dying as a mother or newborn is enormously dependent on where a baby is born.  The maternal mortality ratio in developing countries is 14 times higher than the developed world.  According to the World Health Organization, in developed nations, a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 4900. In comparison, a woman's risk is 1 in 180 in developing nations, and 1 in 54 in conflict zones and politically unstable countries. 

The most difficult part of maternal and neonatal mortality is that the overwhelming majority are preventable. Throughout the world, over 70% of all maternal deaths are the result of direct obstetric causes such as hemorrhage (severe bleeding), hypertension (high blood pressure), obstructed labor (need for a C-section) and sepsis (infection). Over 80% of newborn deaths are from premature birth, delivery complications and preventable infections. The good news is that these deaths can be averted with simple interventions. The 1789 Fund is working in parternship with local organizations to give communities the tools they need to improve maternal and neonatal health. We are working to implement evidence-based, sustainable interventions in the most underserved areas of countries with the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the world.