The Americas – The Pan American Health Organization has launched a campaign to accelerate the reduction of maternal mortality in the region

Every hour, a woman loses her life in Latin America and the Caribbean due to complications during pregnancy, childbirth or the puerperium, and from unsafe abortion — 8,400 women each year. The vast majority of these deaths were preventable. Hypertension in pregnancy, haemorrhage, and complications from unsafe abortion were the most common causes. The numbers increased by 15% between 2016 and 2020.  Nine out of ten of these deaths were preventable with quality of care, access to contraception, and reducing inequalities in access to care.

“Too many women, especially indigenous, Afro-descendant, migrant, with low income and less schooling, still die during pregnancy and childbirth,” said PAHO director, Jarbas Barbosa, at the launch event for the campaign presented in the framework of International Women’s Day. “It is time to urgently invest in maternal health to change this unacceptable reality.”

The regional goal of less than 30 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births is ambitious, committed by the countries of the region in PAHO’s Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas. Last year, the ratio was 68 per 100,000 live births. After a reduction of 16.4% between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio increased by 15% between 2016 and 2020 due to Covid-19.

Avoiding the Avoidable is an initiative of the Working Group for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality (GTR), an interagency mechanism made up of United Nations agencies, bilateral and multilateral cooperation organisations, non-governmental organisations, and professional networks in the region.

The campaign will disseminate messages on social networks and develop specific actions in countries until May. The campaign also includes a call for action to all of society to protect women and newborns.

SOURCE + VISUAL: Unidiversidad / Télam, 21 March 2023