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Global maternal deaths estimate cut

The World Health Organisation has slashed its estimate for the number of maternal deaths worldwide each year to 358,000.

As recently as April, the Geneva-based global health body had put the figure as high as 500,000.

The revised estimate, which represents a 34% drop in deaths between 1990 and 2008, is based on closer scrutiny of figures provided by WHO member states.

The global body said the new figures still mean about 1,000 women die each day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

WHO said countries need to do more to improve healthcare and family planning in poor nations to meet the UN's goal of cutting maternal mortality by three quarters from 1990 to 2015.

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