Thursday, 14 April 2011

Economist Daily Chart: Lives not Lived

The Economist Daily Chart series features statistics emanating from a recent report in the medical journal The Lancet regarding the numbers of stillbirths currently occurring around the globe:
The past 15 years have seen a substantial drop in the rate of stillbirths. In 2009 the world saw some 2.6m stillbirths, down from 3m in 1995. The average yearly decline of stillbirths over this period was 1.1%, slower than the decline for child or maternal mortality. In the crowded field of global health, ailments must beg for attention. Stillbirths suffer particular neglect. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals fail to track them; countries do so sporadically.
New research, published this week in the Lancet and paid for by the Gates Foundation, tries to fill the void. The global drop in stillbirths also masks a wide variation within countries. A mother in central India is more than three times as likely to have a stillbirth as is a mother in India’s southern state of Kerala. In Britain, black women are twice as likely as white ones to have a baby die during labour. Despite these gaps, the widest differences are between rich and poor countries. Just five countries: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, China and Bangladesh account for more than half of all stillbirths.
The correlation between high rates of poverty and low rates of development is fairly clear, I believe.

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