Excerpt: "Maternal mortality is a strong negative indicator of women’s status, and India’s current levels remain unacceptably high. Estimates of the current actual level disagree, but somewhere between 3011 and 4502 maternal deaths occur for every 100,000 live births. Expressed in sheer numbers, anywhere from 78,0001 to 117,0002 women die annually in India as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, which means that the country accounts for nearly one-quarter of all such deaths worldwide. Yet death represents only the most extreme outcome. For each woman who dies, an estimated 20 more suffer from infection, injury and disability connected to pregnancy or childbirth. Some of the complications from giving birth can be serious enough to lead to organ failure, uterine rupture and fistulas. The toll that unsafe motherhood takes on the lives and health of Indian women, and, by extension, on their families and communities, is especially tragic since it is mostly avoidable. From a strictly medical standpoint, the large majority of maternal deaths—about 80%—can be prevented through effective and timely maternal health care."