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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Far from reaching Millenium Goals in maternal and child mortality rates
Latinamerica Press
6/9/2015
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Maternal mortality rates have been reduced 40 percent in the region since 1990 and child mortality rates have dropped 67 percent.

In September, the United Nations will carry out in New York a special Summit on Sustainable Development, the deadline for the fulfillment of the eight Millennium Development Goals approved in 1990. Although Latin America and the Caribbean, as a region, have achieved important advances in the reduction of poverty and hunger as well as universal access to primary education, in terms of child and maternal mortality rates the reduction has not been fast enough to achieve the goals set.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), none of the countries in the region are close to the goals to reduce by 75 percent the maternal and infant mortalities by 2015. The report “Trends in maternal mortality 1990-2013”, published by various agencies of the United Nations in May 2014, revealed that in this period the maternal mortality was reduced only by 40 percent.

The leading causes of death for women between 20 and 34 years of age are due to complications from unsafe abortion, hypertensive diseases during pregnancy, obstetric trauma, hemorrhage and postpartum infections.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.”

“Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older women,” states the WHO. “Skilled care before, during, and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.”

According to the United Nations Children´s Fund (UNICEF), the mortality in children under five years old has been reduced by 67 percent between 1990 and 2013.

Inequality
Save the Children, an organization that defends the rights of children, in its report “State of the World´s Mothers 2015”, accredits the slow advances in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates have to do with the inequality in the access to health services.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than half of child deaths likely occur in urban areas,” says Save the Children.”While high-quality private sector health facilities are more plentiful in urban areas, the urban poor often lack the ability to pay for this care — and many face discrimination of even abuse when seeking care.”

“Public sector health systems are typically under-funded, and often fail to reach those most in need with basic health services. In many instances, the poor resort to seeking care from unqualified health practitioners, often paying for the care that is poor quality, or in some cases, harmful. Overcrowding, poor sanitation and food insecurity make poor mothers and children even more vulnerable to disease and ill health,” the organization added.

According to WHO, poverty, distance, lack of information, and inadequate services, among others, are factors that prevent that women receive or seek care during pregnancy and childbirth.

Save the Children highlights that “2015 is a pivotal year for maternal, newborn and child survival.” Sept. 2015 will mark the launch of post-2015 framework (Sustainable Development Goals) “with the commitment to equitably ending preventable child and maternal deaths”, and Dec. 2015 the end of the Millennium Development Goals.

“This framework will determine the future of mothers’ and children’s lives around the world. Given the rapid growth of urban populations, and the increasing portion of under-5 deaths occurring among the urban poor, the post-2015 framework needs to highlight investments needed for basic health services, water and sanitation, and improved nutrition for this under-served, and often neglected, population.”
—Latinamerica Press.

 

LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN
Maternal and child mortality rates 2013
Country
Lifetime risk of maternal death*
Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 lives births)
Haiti
80
72.8
Bolivia
140
39.1
Guyana
150
36.6
Guatemala
170
31.0
Honduras
260
22.2
Paraguay
290
21.9
Suriname
330
22.8
Nicaragua
340
23.5
Dominican Rep.
360
28.1
Venezuela
360
14.9
Ecuador
420
22.5
Peru
440
16.7
Panama
450
17.9
Colombia
500
16.9
Jamaica
540
16.6
Latin America/Caribbean
570
17.0
Argentina
630
13.3
El Salvador
600
15.7
Trinidad and Tobago
640
21.3
Belize
750
16.7
Brazil
780
13.7
Mexico
900
14.5
Saint Vicent and Granadines
1,000
19.0
Barbados
1,100
14.4
Bahamas
1,400
12.9
Costa Rica
1,400
9,6
Saint Lucia
1,500
14.5
Grenada
1,800
11.8
Chile
2,400
8.2
Uruguay
3,500
11.1

*1 por cada cifra de mujeres en edad reproductiva indicada por país.

Fuente: Save the Children.


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