LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN – Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and partners launch campaign to reduce maternal mortality

Every hour, a woman loses her life in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region due to complications in pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum, the vast majority of which are preventable.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a 20-year setback in maternal health in the region. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), together with other United Nations agencies and partners, launched a campaign on 8 March to encourage countries in the region to reduce maternal mortality, which increased by 15% between 2016 and 2020.

Around 8,400 women die each year in the region from complications in pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum. High blood pressure, severe bleeding, and complications from unsafe abortion are the most common causes. However, nine out of ten of these deaths are preventable through quality of care, access to contraception and by reducing inequities in access to care.

Maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2020

o Approximately 8,400 women, almost 3% of the global total, died from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth in Latin America and the Caribbean. Of those, 1,300 were in the Caribbean.

o Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality in Latin America decreased by 16.4%, but between 2016 and 2020 it increased by 15%.

o 13 countries had a very low maternal mortality rate (20 or fewer  maternal deaths per 100,000 live births); 26 reported a low rate (less than 100), and 6 had a high or moderate rate (between 100 and 499).

In PAHO’s Sustainable Health Agenda, countries of the region have committed to achieving a maternal mortality ratio of less than 30 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

SOURCES: PAHO/WHO, 8 March 2023 ; Trends in Maternal Mortality 2000 to 2020: estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and UNDESA/Population Division, 23 February 2023