The South Asian sub-region accounts for a substantial part of preventable maternal deaths in the world. Maternal mortality estimates remain high particularly in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of Bangladesh stands at 194, India 212, Nepal 281, and Pakistan 276. As many countries in South Asia do not have a reliable registration system for births and deaths, MMR estimates can be significantly higher. The national figures for MMR also do not capture the large interstate and regional variations within these countries.
Nearly two thirds of premature deaths and one third of the total disease burden in adults are associated with conditions which begin in youth. Maternal mortality in girls under 18 is estimated to be two to five times higher than in women between 18 and 25. Nearly one in four people living in South Asia is an adolescent or a child between the ages of 10 and 19. One in four adolescent girls in South Asia is too thin and one in five was stunted during her childhood due to inadequate nutrition. While there is an emerging body of evidence on the impact of child marriage, adolescent nutrition and education on adolescent pregnancy and maternal and infant deaths and disability, this evidence rarely translates into adolescent-sensitive health programmes and budgets. Neither does new information on sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of adolescents and its health consequences taken into account.