Maternal Mortality Rates by Country in 2020: A Comprehensive Analysis of Global Maternal Health

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Maternal mortality is a major public health concern globally, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), maternal mortality refers to the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management. In this article, we will discuss the maternal mortality rates (MMR) by country in 2020 and the factors that contribute to this problem.

What is Maternal Mortality?

Maternal mortality is a preventable and tragic outcome of pregnancy. It is an indicator of the quality of maternal health care and reflects the status of women’s health in a given country. Maternal mortality rates are calculated as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The MMR is considered the most reliable indicator of maternal health and is used as a key performance indicator for measuring progress towards reducing maternal mortality.

Maternal Mortality Rates by Country in 2020

In 2020, the global maternal mortality rate was 211 deaths per 100,000 live births. While this represents a 38% decline from 2000, when the global MMR was 342 deaths per 100,000 live births, progress has been uneven across countries. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia continue to have the highest MMRs, with rates of 542 and 192 deaths per 100,000 live births, respectively. In contrast, high-income countries have a significantly lower MMR, with an average of 11 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Factors Contributing to Maternal Mortality

Several factors contribute to maternal mortality, including inadequate access to quality maternal health care, poor infrastructure, poverty, and social and cultural factors. In LMICs, the lack of skilled birth attendants, inadequate medical equipment, and insufficient medications and supplies are among the major factors that contribute to maternal deaths. Other factors include late recognition and referral of complications, delays in seeking medical care, and poor quality of care.

Efforts to Reduce Maternal Mortality

Efforts to reduce maternal mortality must be multifaceted and address the underlying factors that contribute to this problem. This includes improving access to quality maternal health care, increasing the number of skilled birth attendants, improving infrastructure and medical equipment, and increasing access to essential medications and supplies. Education and awareness campaigns can also help to increase knowledge about maternal health and encourage women to seek medical care when necessary. Improving the social and economic status of women can also play a significant role in reducing maternal mortality rates.


Maternal mortality remains a significant public health challenge globally, particularly in LMICs. While progress has been made in reducing maternal deaths, significant disparities remain across countries and regions. To address this issue, efforts must be made to improve access to quality maternal health care, increase awareness and education about maternal health, and improve the social and economic status of women. Only through these efforts can we hope to significantly reduce maternal mortality rates worldwide.

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