The National Pact for the Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality, signed in March, 2004, and launched by the Ministry of Health, has as its goals over a period of two decades a 70% reduction in maternal deaths between the gestation and postpartum stages and a 50% reduction in the death rate of newborns.
This in order to achieve acceptable indices according to the criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO). A short-term goal was set to reduce both indices by 15% by the end of 2006.
The pact is based on a collaboration among federal, state, and municipal governments and civil society. The measures adopted in consequence of the pact include a technical norm issued by the ministry determining that all women who are undergoing risky abortions or miscarriages be afforded dignified admission and treatment in the Unified Health System (SUS).
According to the ministry, the death rate among Brazilian mothers is 74.5 for every 100,000 live births. 20 is the acceptable rate. The rate of newborn deaths in Brazil is around 20 per thousand. The WHO index is under 10 per thousand.
A report released by the WHO in April, 2005, alerts that, around the world, 529,000 women die each year during pregnancy, delivery, or immediately after childbirth.
Around 68,000 of them perish from abortions performed unsafely. Every year 3.3 million babies are stillborn, over 4 million die in the first 28 days, and another 6.6 million die before completing 5 years of age.