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Submitted by Patricio V Marquez on
Results of recent research published in The Lancet, ahead of a major international gathering taking place in London this week sponsored by the British Government and the Gates Foundation, clearly indicate that a large proportion of maternal deaths can be averted at moderate cost through scaled up access to family planning services. An analysis of 172 countries by Saifuddin Ahmed, Qingfeng Li, Li Liu, Amy O Tsui of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Public Health estimated that 342 203 women died of maternal causes in 2008, but that contraceptive use averted 272 040 maternal deaths (44% reduction), so without contraceptive use,the number of maternal deaths would have been 1·8 times higher than the 2008 total. Satisfying unmet need for contraception could prevent another 104 000 maternal deaths per year (29% reduction).