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Maternal Mortality, Abortion Rates Decline In Former Soviet Bloc

Over the last decade, the maternal mortality rate has dropped by 50 percent in some former Soviet bloc and Balkan countries, according to a U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) report released Thursday, Agence France-Presse/France24 reports.  

“The rate of women dying just before, after or during birth went down from 51 to 24 in 100,000 births between 2000 and 2009,” according to the report, which looked at “12 former Soviet bloc countries, not including Baltic states, and eight southeast European countries including Turkey,” the news service writes. During the last 15 years, abortion rates in the region also went down from 1,049 to 493 per 1,000 births. The report said the region “still has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world,” AFP/France24 writes (11/12).

“Investing in access to voluntary family planning and modern contraception is one of the most cost-effective ways for countries to make progress and move towards achievement of the MDGs,” said UNFPA regional director Thea Fierens in a statement. “Proper access to contraceptives not only saves lives, reduces the number of abortions and promotes equality, it is also a cost-effective investment and sound economics” (11/12).