Call to action: Zero preventable maternal deaths

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According to data published by the United Nations in February 2023, the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region had one maternal death every hour in 2020. By that same year, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the region reverted to the levels of two decades ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of the region’s health infrastructures, exacerbating inequalities in access to health services, with a profound impact on women’s lives. The pandemic was accompanied by excess maternal mortality and deepened inequities in access to essential sexual and reproductive health services. In the years prior to the pandemic, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the Americas had stagnated, as a result of the multiple barriers to access to health and quality care faced by women and adolescents in the Region.

This situation has highlighted the fragility of progress in the region, which needs to increase the current rate of maternal mortality reduction to achieve the regional goal of the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas (SHAA) of 30 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030 and achieve the SDG goal of 3.1.

This call urges countries to enhance immediate action at the national and subnational levels, with recommendations to address the main structural challenges of maternal health with the aim of accelerating the reduction of maternal mortality.