If it's possible to reduce maternal mortality in high-incidence countries at relatively little financial cost (and I suspect it is) then it does seem like an excellent area for aid investment. The societal benefits of a mother surviving childbirth must be massive (not to mention the individual benefit to the woman).
"You can never get used to maternal deaths,�? said Dr. Siriel Nanzia Massawe, an obstetrician and the director of postgraduate studies at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam, the country’s Tanzania's largest city. “One minute she’s talking with her husband, then she is bleeding and then she is gone. She’s gone, very young. You cannot sleep for one week. That face will always come back to you. Too many die, too young. But the people in power, they have not seen it. We need to make them aware.�?
—Denise Grady, "Where Life’s Start Is a Deadly Risk," New York Times, May 23, 2009
"Women in Africa have some of the world’s highest death rates in pregnancy and during childbirth. For each woman who dies, 20 others suffer from serious complications, according to the W.H.O. “Maternal deaths have remained stubbornly intractable�? for two decades, Unicef reported last year. In 2000, the United Nations set a goal to reduce the deaths by 75 percent by 2015. It is a goal that few poor countries are expected to reach.
“Why don’t we have a global fund for maternal health, like the one for TB, malaria and AIDS?�? Dr. Massawe asked."
From a different article:
'When they are about to deliver, Tanzanian mothers often say to their older children, “I’m going to go and fetch the new baby; it is a dangerous journey and I may not return.�?'
—Amy Grossman, "A Birth Pill," (about the safety of misoprostol used as an anti-hemorrhage treatment after birth) New York Times, May 9, 2009