Majority of maternal deaths are avoidable
Latinamerica Press 5/8/2014
Three women die every day from complications in pregnancy, delivery and post-partum.
The maternal mortality ratio declined almost 50 percent in Mexico from 1990 to 2012, from 88.7 deaths per every 100,000 live births, to 42.7 deaths. Still, approximately 1,000 women die every year from avoidable causes.
A May 5 report published by news agency Contralínea showed that in 2012 — the most recent year data was available —, 73 percent of maternal deaths had direct causes (abortion, gestational hypertension, obstetric trauma, hemorrhaging, sepsis) that could have been treated immediately and effectively. Moreover, seven of every 10 deaths happened in hospitals and clinics.
For Paola Sesia and Raffaela Schiavon Ermani of Mexico’s National Safe Motherhood Committee, “maternal mortality is a violation of the human rights of women because it’s avoidable in the majority of cases. They are unnecessary deaths, so when they happen, it’s a violation of women’s right to life. The avoidable deaths are those deaths that occurred ‘prematurely’ and unnecessarily, given the level of available medical technology and clinical knowledge at hand.”
The non-governmental Observatory for Maternal Mortality in Mexico (OMM) estimated 29,869 women died between 1990 and 2013 due to deficient medical attention — a figure that is elevated in states with larger indigenous populations, like Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca or Tlaxcala. Women in the 100 Mexican municipalities with the lowest human development rates are five times likelier to die from problems during pregnancy and delivery than women in the rest of the country.
Additionally, of the 960 maternal deaths reported in 2012, 141 were of adolescents between 10 and 19 years old. Since 2002, there have been 1,841 reported maternal deaths in that age range. Reasons for the higher maternal mortality rate among adolescents and teens stems from a lack of information about sexual and reproductive rights and failure to seek medical attention in a timely manner.
In the “State of the World’s Mothers 2014,” published by humanitarian organization Save the Children on May 5, Mexico ranks 54 of 178 countries in regard to health, economic opportunity, education and political participation for mothers.
According to Save the Children, Mexico has fallen behind on the Millennium Development Goals concerning maternal mortality. The goal of reducing such deaths by three-fourths between 1990 and 2015 is far from being achieved, since that would require 22.2 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, when the current figure is almost twice that (42.7 deaths for every 100,000 live births).
Last September, the federal government published its “Millennium Development Goals in Mexico: A Report on Progress, 2013,” admitting “insufficient progress” in the reduction of maternal mortality rates. It described a “public health problem that reflects social inequality and shows limitations in coverage and quality of health services, like access to family planning methods, the detection and adequate treatment of (health) complications, and the appropriate attention in hospitals.”
Among the steps the state has taken to reach that 2015 goal are strengthen the controls during pregnancy, delivery and post-partum, medical intervention in obstetric emergencies, especially for preeclampsia/eclampsia, obstetric hemorrhaging, postpartum infection and complications from abortions — the leading causes of maternal deaths. —Latinamerica Press.
LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN
Mothers’ Index 2014*
Trinidad and Tobago
Saint Vincent and
*Rankings are based on five indicators: risk of maternal death, mortality rate among children under 5, years of formal education, gross national product per capita, and participation of women in the national government, with 1 being the top ranking.
Source: Save the Children