Regional Task Force for Maternal Mortality Reduction calls for action to reduce maternal mortality

25 May 2021

Montevideo, May 20, 2021 (CLAP/PAHO)- The GTR calls on governments and strategic partners to include the reduction of preventable maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as a priority by addressing the allocation of resources with innovative and cost-effective strategies.  In this regard, the inter-agency group warns of a stagnation in the reduction of maternal mortality in LAC based on the latest figures, which indicate a maternal mortality ratio of 67.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. The most common causes of maternal mortality in the region include hemorrhage, pregnancy-induced hypertension, complications related to unsafe abortion, sepsis, and other direct and indirect causes.

In the context of the pandemic the numbers have become worse. Becasuse  physiological changes in the immune and cardiopulmonary systems, pregnant women are more likely to develop severe respiratory virus disease. Studies of obstetric outcomes in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection seem to confirm an association between SARS-CoV-2 and higher rates of cesarean section, respiratory failure in the third trimester of gestation, and adverse perinatal outcomes such as preterm delivery (in 41% of cases) and perinatal death (in 7% of cases). 

In addition, restrictive measures on mobility, isolation, and the closure of some health care centers to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 have limited the health services available and have generated significant barriers to access. Demand for health services has also been affected by the population's fear of contagion, and limited or no economic resources, among others. 
In this context, the Strategic Consensus to Reduce Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean, a document that proposes a series of recommendations based on the latest available evidence and which was prepared by the GTR, the interagency working group to reduce maternal mortality, in collaboration with the countries of the region, will be launched on Wednesday, May 26.

The launch of the consensus will be virtually on May 26, 2021. Time: 8:00 Guatemala, 9:00 Mexico, Panama and Peru; 10:00 Chile, EST, Dominican Republic and Trinidad; 11:00 Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
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What is the GTR?

It is an interagency mechanism formed by technical agencies of  the United Nations, bilateral and multilateral cooperation organizations, non-governmental organizations and professional networks of the region created in 1998 whose mission is to promote  collaborative work and regional synergies to implement policies  and programs to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality in  LAC.

Its members include the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Population Fund, the Latin American Center of Perinatology, Women and Reproductive Health of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Management Sciences for Health, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership/Jhpiego, United Nations Children's Fund, United States Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Confederation of Midwives, the Latin American Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology Societies, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, and the Implementing Best Practices (IBP) Initiative.