In India, many women have died getting sterilized—but it remains the most widespread contraceptive method both there and in the rest of the world. Why is it so popular, and what are the drawbacks?
Most maternal deaths, due to complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth, are preventable, and great strides have been made in improving maternal health and reducing the number of deaths. Between 1990 and 2013, maternal mortality dropped by 45 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet, every day approximately 800 women still die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In 2013, the number of maternal deaths worldwide was 289,000 women.
Maternal health impacts families, communities and societies with far-reaching effects, especially in developing countries, where 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur. The risk of maternal mortality is highest for girls under 15, many of whom have no access to contraception.
Our Pulitzer Center grantees have reported from many countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Guinea Bissau, India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia and Nigeria. They are covering a wide range of issues—teenage pregnancy, child marriage, illegal abortion, religious beliefs and attitudes towards family planning, and poor infrastructure. Their stories highlight the severity of the reproductive health crisis as well as some of the many efforts made to give more women access to better and safer healthcare.