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Making Sense Of Maternal Mortality Statistics

Referring to a Maternal Health Task Force infographic depicting maternal mortality worldwide, Jen Quraishi, editorial coordinator for Mother Jones, writes in a post on Mother Jones’ “Blue Marble” blog that “there are lots of ways to juggle [maternal mortality] numbers, and ultimately I find the death rate per capita more useful than the total number of deaths … Charts like these obscure the point that the relative wealth and size of a country do have an effect on its maternal mortality, but they’re not everything.”  She goes on to state, “At the end of the day, I find it disheartening that a rich country like the U.S., which prides itself on its treatment of women, has the same maternal mortality rate as a country that doesn’t let women drive (Saudi Arabia) and a worse rate than countries with a fraction of its GDP per capita” (8/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.