Israel is tied for the third-lowest rate of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth, according to UNICEF-Israel, the local branch of the UN Children’s Fund.This is much better than most of the other countries in the Middle East. Kuwait, Greece and Poland had the same rating as Israel, while Iceland and Sweden had even fewer deaths per 100,000 births.The mortality rate of pregnant women and those who give birth has dropped 54.5 percent in the last 20 years, with five women now dying per 100,000 births compared to 11 in 1990, UNICEF-Israel director Johnny Klein said on Sunday. “Israel has one of the most advanced health systems in the world, but there are still whole sectors in which the statistics have no changed or they have even gotten worse. It is vital, not for the figures but as a proper country, to make sure that all will enjoy the advances in healthcare and that there won’t be communities that live as if they were in the Third World.”Mortality rates in the Beduin communities, especially in unrecognized settlements, are relatively high.Klein added that “Israel is an island of health in the region, as in western Asia the mortality rate of women in pregnancy and childbirth is 91 per 100,000 and in the Palestinian Authority, 45 – which is a decline of 62% since 1990. In the US, however, it has risen a bit, from 12 per 100,000 to 14 today. More than a third of the deaths occur in India and Nigeria,” the UNICEF official said.In the world at large, during the last 25 years there has been a 44% decline in the number of women’s deaths during pregnancy and up to six weeks after delivery. Studies show that 1.6% of the deaths of women are connected with complications of AIDS. Most young women’s deaths in the Third World, however, are not even recorded.