• Almost 300,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth every year and for every maternal death at least another 20 women suffer from injury or illness, often with lifelong consequences.
  • Today, 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with more than half in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 214 million women and girls in developing countries want to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraception. Reasons for non-use include lack of information; opposition from partners or others; and difficulty obtaining services and supplies.
  • 41% of global pregnancies are unintended and 43.8 million abortions occur each year – nearly half of these are unsafe and 98% of unsafe abortions occur in developing countries.

The vast majority of these maternal deaths are preventable – yet pregnant women around the world continue to die because they do not have access to timely emergency obstetric care. Adding to this problem is the high unintentional pregnancy rate of many developing countries – 41% of global pregnancies are unintended and 214 million women want to prevent pregnancy and are not using contraception. Bloomberg Philanthropies works to address these needs by providing access to quality maternal and reproductive health services, and advocating for the provision of these services by the national government in the countries where we work.




Tanzania has the sixth highest number of maternal deaths in the world and fourth highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Tanzania, a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth almost every hour. For every woman that dies, another 20 suffer an injury, illness or disability, often with life-long consequences.



Maternal survival is closely linked to child survival. The same conditions that cause death and illness in pregnant women also result in death and illness in millions of newborn babies. Furthermore, threats to a mother’s life also jeopardize the survival of her other children, especially if they are girls.



  • Bleeding
  • Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • Obstructed labor
  • Infection
  • Unsafe abortion

We know that access to comprehensive emergency obstetric services can prevent most of these deaths, yet women continue to die because health care facilities with skilled personnel are few and far between. Approximately 15% of pregnancies and childbirths will result in a life-risking complication. It is impossible to predict when a complication will occur – that is why all pregnant women need access to life-saving care.