Women dying from complications during pregnancy and childbirth fell 34 per cent from 546,000 in 1990 to 358,000 in 2008, said a UN report released on Wednesday.
Of these, 78,000 childbirth-related deaths took place in India.
The decline — about 2.3 per cent annually — fell short of the 5.5 per cent needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 per cent between 1990 and 2015.
Every day in 2008, about 1,000 women died due to these complications. Of the 1,000, 570 lived in sub-Saharan Africa, 300 in South Asia and five in high-income countries, said the report called Trends in Maternal Mortality, released by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank.
The risk of a woman in a developing country dying from a pregnancy-related cause is 36 times higher than that of a woman in a developed country.
India’s maternal mortality ratio has declined to 254 per 100,000 live births in 2004-06 from 301 per 100,000 live births during 2001-03, according to the Sample Registration System of the Registrar General of India.
The number was 540 deaths per 1 lakh births in 1998-1999.
Janani Suraksha Yojana — the central government scheme to encourage women to deliver babies in hospitals and clinics instead of at home — has led to 72.9 per cent women giving birth in hospitals compared to 40.7 per cent in 2005-06.