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CARMMA, the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa, is an initiative of the African Union Commission to curb the continentally-high pregnancy-related deaths. Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is the number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births - or the number of women who die during pregnancy or within 42 days of delivery or termination, per 100,000 live births during that year. Globally, there are over 358,000 maternal deaths each year and Africa accounts for more than half (53 per cent).

At the 12th AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa in 2009, African leaders decided a major push was required to avoid as many as 2.5 million maternal deaths, 2.5 million child deaths and 49 million maternal disabilities in the next 10 years (UNFPA/WHO estimates). They committed themselves to placing maternal, infant and child health high on Africa’s development agenda.

CARMMA was launched during the African Union Conference of Ministers of Health in Ethiopia in 2009, using the theme Universal Access to Quality Services: Improve Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health in recognition of the importance of addressing the challenge vigorously.