Reducing the rate of maternal mortality by 75% by 2015 is one of the development targets that has been endorsed at numerous international meetings. This target was selected because maternal ill health is the largest contributor to the disease burden affecting women in developing countries; because the lifetime risk of maternal death is much greater in the poorest countries than in the richest (1 in 12 for women in east Africa compared with 1 in 4000 in northern Europe); and because interventions are cost effective (costing £2 ($3) per woman and £153 ($230) per death averted).
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